Since 2013 (or perhaps earlier) The Little Red Dot's sky will be overcast with bad air twice a year, all thanks to our "friendly" neighobour. We lost our clear blue sky and Mr Sun for months, it was replaced with hazy sky and red Sun, the air quality is bad and on days its bad. This year, the #SGHaze got worse (but it's still not as bad as in 2013) with PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) hits over 300 and the PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5) hits over 200.
With dust particles floating in the air at such density it can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Long term exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. (uh-oh!)
Both DinoPapa and DinoBoy have sensitive air way, on top of that DinoBoy's body is on the heaty side (in the Chinese medical terms), thus he will get fever, constipation, indigestion, tummy upset easily. Therefore I have to take extra care to make sure that they do not develop any of the symptoms above or even if they have it does not get any worse. There are drinks and soup that I will prepare that will bring down the body's heatiness, nourish the lungs and lubricate the eyes.
I was very lucky that one of our relative gifted us this 2 liter Electric Glass pot which enables me to boil such drinks in a convenient way. I can throw every ingredients into the pot, set the timer and temperature , leave it to boil and it will cut of the power once the timer is up. Beats standing over the fire watching the pot boiling and ensuring that the water in the pot does not evaporate during the hour long boiling.
In this post I will share with you the recipe of the drinks and soup I prepared for the family.
Food For the Lungs
White Fungus 白木耳 or it is also called Snow Fungus, White Tree-Ear, and Tremella Fuciformis is gelatinous, translucent, soft, elastic, form the shape of chrysanthemum, peony form or Hydrangeal. It is a well-known valuable nutrients, rich in collagen protein and vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. In Chinese families, it is commonly used in soups cooked for soothing purposes like nourishing the bodies, healing dry coughs and clearing heat in the lungs.
There are 2 types of white fungus as shown in the photo below I am not sure why (next time I will ask the lady boss in the Chinese medical hall), I will use the smaller compact and thicker white fungus for soup and the other bigger and thinner one for drinks. The smaller compact white fungus will be able to withstand couple of hours boiling in the soup and will not disintegrate.
I learn this drink from a friend in a facebook cooking group, the ingredients needed are white fungus, dried lily bulb and lotus seed. For my Electric Glass pot I'm using slightly more than half a palm size of white fungus, a handful each of lotus seed and lily bulb with a thumb sized rock sugar. I let it boil at 600deg for 45mins, cool down and serve.
There are a few soups that I like to boil to nourish the lungs too, one of my favourite is to buy a packet of White Fungus herbal soup pack from the supermarket. This is convenient coz I just have to buy soup bone or spare ribs to boil together with it.
Another favourite is the Papaya White Fungus Soup. Papayas are loaded with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. These tasty tropical fruits offer benefits to the digestive system by providing ample dietary fiber and a protein-digesting enzyme called papain. Papayas also benefit the lungs and immune system. More generally, every organ in the body uses the vitamins in papayas to neutralize free radicals, synthesize energy and heal damaged tissue. Whether you're seeking a specific benefit or eating well to promote overall well-being, papayas are a good choice.
Papaya White Fungus Soup -
* 1 green or semi ripe papaya
* 400g spareribs/soup bone
* 20g white fungus
* a handful of sweet & bitter almond 南杏 北杏
* 2 preserved dates 蜜枣
* 1 pot water, about 2 liter
1. Remove the papaya skin and seeds, cut them in to pieces, not too small otherwise they may disintegrate during the boiling.
2. Soak the white fungus for about 20mins, pour away the water. You may choose to cut it into smaller pieces for easier consumption.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil to blanch the meat for about 15mins. I like to do this as it removes the impurities that I discard as scum.
4. Put a pot of 1 liter water to boil, add in the soup bones/spare ribs, sweet & bitter almond, preserved dates. Cover the pot and boil for about an hour.
5. Add papaya and boil for another half an hour.
Food & Herbs For the Eyes
The air particles in the air not only irritates the eyes but they made the eyes dry and sore. Besides washing them with saline to get rid of eye irritation caused by the micro dust I also boil tea to help them feels better too.
The easiest and common tea that every one is boiling should be the Chrysanthemum and Wolfberry Tea.
Chrysanthemum tea is a natural coolant and helps in lowering the body's heatiness or when one is suffering from fever or even heat stroke. It helps to relief sore throat, redness in the eyes, itchiness in the eyes, dryness in the eyes too. It also strengthen the lungs and helps in providing relief to respiratory problems such as shortness of breath. And, get this, it calms your nerves, sooth the anger and relief stress. This haze is sure stressful for all and the humid weather is causing us to be short temper, we all need some chrysanthemum tea to cool our head and calm ourselves.
Wolfberry or Goji 枸杞; both the seeds and the leaves, is one of the most antioxidant rich fruits and it helps improve vision or eye sight. It also nourishing the liver and is a immune system booster.
I am using a small handful each of chrysanthemum and wolfberries with a thumb sized rock sugar for this tea. Boil it at 300deg for 30mins and it is ready to drink.
Another ingredient that I like to use is Cassia Seed or better known as 决明子 or jué míng zǐ. Cassia seed clears heat and soothes liver. It is an essential herb for treating a variety eye infections, such as hot eyes, swelling and pain eyes, blurred vision, photophobia, excessive tearing, and more. Cassia seed pillow can tremendously improve sleep quality by removing heat and soothing the nerves; furthermore, it can be used as a laxative to relax bowel and treat constipation; finally, it can also make herbal slimming tea that really work thanks to its purging activity, which can interfere with the absorption of fats and carbohydrates.
I found the Chrysanthemum Wolfberries & Cassia Seeds Tea recipe from the web is for a person's share by pouring hot water into the cup with these 3 ingredients, soak for 15mins and its ready to drink. This method is convenient to make to drink in the office, a cup a day while we face the computer doing out work.
* 10g wolfberries
* 3g chrysanthemum
* 20g cassia seed
For my pot, I uses a pinch of 30-40g each of the ingredients with a thumb size rock sugar in 1200 liter of water, boil at 600deg for 45mins. For easier cleaning I put the tiny cassia seeds in tea bags to put into the pot to boil.
Food for Heaty Body
One of a drink we frequently made is the barley drink, because barley helps bring down the heatiness of the body. Sometimes I add candied winter melon if any of us have a serious case of heatiness that resulted in heaty cough and fever.
I also like to boil the Winter Melon soup where I will put winter melon, pork ribs or soup bones, candied dates and wolfberries to boil.
Winter melon has cooling properties, it has dietary fiber and Vitamin C that helps in constipation and helps to clear up mucus & phlegm and improves digestion.
Both barley and winter melon have diuretic effect, that means it causes increase passing of urine which in turn helps to detox the body.
There you have it, 6 drinks and soup the DinoFamily frequently consume to stay healthy during the hazy
daze days. I hope you find them useful and beneficial too. Remember to hydrate yourself often, mask up on bad hazy days and stay healthy & safe!