Friday, June 13, 2008

The Power of Green Tea

Who loves green tea? I sure do! We’ve all drank this before (or at least heard of this) right? It really is the quintessence of Asian tea. Doesn’t the thought of it just give you that Asian vibe? Well, whether it does or not, this popular tea also has powers of its own. Did you know that green tea has many PROVEN health benefits? The Chinese have been using green tea in their medicine for well over 4,000 years! Here are some reasons why you should drinking green tea as well:

Green Tea Helps You:

- Lower cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Treat rheumatoid arthritis
- Strengthen immune function
- Treat infection
- Prevent tooth decay
- Prevent heart attack and stroke
- On your diet! (It lowers the negative effects of a fatty diet)

It is no wonder why the rate of heart disease in Japanese men is quite low despite the fact that roughly 75% of them or smokers. Wow! That’s all I can say.

“But what makes green tea so…powerful?” you may ask. Well, green tea is filled with the anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Anti-oxidants, as you probably know, are really good for you. (That’s why we eat fruits!) EGCG is no exception. EGCG is the reason behind why green tea can reduce the risk of cancer and other cardiovascular disease.

As you can see, green tea really is good for you! So don’t feel guilty when you’re sitting in an Asian restaurant sipping tea. Even with its caffeine content, green tea can lengthen your life! Now, I won’t feel as guilty when I spoon down a whole carton of green tea ice cream!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chicken feet.

Yes, you heard me right. Chicken feet! “Is that even edible?” you ask? It most certainly is. Ok, before you go throw up or try to close this window in fright, let me tell you that people do eat chicken feet. And it’s really really good!

Chicken feet are usually used in Chinese cuisine. They are mainly comprised of skin and tendon – there’s very little actual chicken meat. Thus, when you’re eating it, I find it to have an almost gummy texture (in the most appetizing way of course). Plus, just a heads up, chicken feet also has a lot of small bones (each joint of the toe is a bone). So, you may find yourself picking out bones for a while (but that can be fun, right!). Yeah, the chicken feet dining experience is certainly nothing like the usual KFC night.

The only place I can find (and eat) chicken feet are at dim sum restaurants. If you don’t know what dim sum are, they are basically just “small bites” of Chinese dishes – kind of like the tapas found in Spanish cuisine. In these restaurants, they first fry the cleaned (and de-nailed) chicken feet before marinating and cooking them in a thick and sweet black bean sauce. Oh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

They are sweet, savory, a little spicy, black beany, and just the perfect snack to chew on!

Still not convinced about eating chicken feet? Well, what if I told you that they are also good for you too! It’s true. Chicken feet have a high amount of collagen, which helps your skin stay firm and wrinkle free!

So, next time you happen to find yourself in a Chinese dim sum place, don’t forget to order the chicken feet! After you get over the fact that they are chicken feet, you may even come to love this stuff (I say may). Plus, you could be eating worse right? Just the other day, my friend almost found herself eating pig testicles.

Friday, June 6, 2008

7 Other Versions of Fried Rice

We are all familiar with fried rice. You know, that tasty stuff we find at all Asian buffets and Chinese take-out. Most of us (me included) usually just think, Fried rice is fried rice is fried rice. Right? Well, not so much. Fried rice isn’t always just white rice with egg, scallions, and some sort of chopped meat. There are different styles of fried rice all around the world. I bet even every household has their own recipe for fried rice. So what types of fried rice are there? Well, today I will be discussing just that! Here are seven (I’m sure there are a bunch more) “other” versions of fried rice.

1. Yang Chow Fried Rice
This is the most popular style of fried rice we eat here in the States. You can find this in almost all Chinese take-out joints and Asian buffets. We’re all familiar with this stuff – fried rice with egg, shrimp, and chopped barbeque pork.

2. American Fried Rice
Ok, this is more of a Thailand favorite than an American one. It includes hot dogs (that’s probably why they called it American), eggs, fried chicken, and…ketchup. Gotta love that ketchup!

3. Nasi Goreng
This is a Malaysian and Indonesian version of fried rice. The major difference is that it is cooked with sweet soy sauce. Often served as breakfast in Indonesia, this dish is popular in countries such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

4. Kimchi Fried Rice
That’s pretty much it. This Korean dish mixes fried rice with our favorite Asian pickled cabbage…kimchi!

5. Garlic Fried Rice
Filipino garlic fried rice is often served as a breakfast dish. Simply, it is fried rice with garlic. Mmmm, I’ve never tried this before, but garlic is sure to make everything taste great!

6. Cha Han
This is a Japanese style of fried rice. Sometimes katsuobushi (Japanese dried smoked tuna) is mixed in to add another layer of flavor.

7. Canton Fried Rice
This Canton version of fried rice is served with a special sauce or gravy poured on top.

So, there you have it! There are the 7 versions of fried rice (even though there are probably a billion more!). Just remember, recipes...and fried rice...aren't suppose to be done only one way. They are really just up to you and your taste buds!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chinese eggs and tomato.

This is one of my all-time childhood favorites. I know, you're probably thinking, What is he talking about? How about the mac & cheese, chicken casserole, and homemade chocolate chip cookies? Well, when you grow up in a traditional Chinese household like I do, you usually don't see those foods on the dinner table. On my table, there's usually food like pig tongue, chicken feet, and definitely Chinese eggs and tomato.

When I was a kid, I use to beg my mom to make this for me every night. So what is Chinese eggs and tomato? Well, let me first tell you what it isn't. It is not American eggs and tomato - it's nothing like an omelet. And it isn't like Italian eggs with a tomato marinara. Chinese eggs and tomato is actually quite a simple dish. It's just scrambled eggs with simmered wedges of tomato. Sounds kind of boring right? But when I was a kid, it was just plain darn addicting.

It's sweet, savory, great over rice, light, and...and...yummy!

Chinese Eggs and Tomato

4-5 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
2 medium sized tomatoes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

Break eggs into a bowl. Add salt and pepper and beat lightly. Set aside. Cut each tomato into 8 wedges. Heat a wok or skillet with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When hot, pour in eggs and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until slightly underdone. Remove the egg from the pan into a bowl and set aside. Add remaining oil into the pan and add tomatoes. Add another pinch of salt and pepper and stir with wooden spoon. Add soy sauce. Cook until the tomatoes soften and their juices form a slightly thick sauce. Mix scrambled eggs back into the pan, plate, and serve. Enjoy!