Some of the best food discoveries I know are from home-cooked food, and I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from a friend of mine, whose entire family members are vegans. Entering her flat, I was greeted with the fragrant aroma of an herbal stew put on slow boil. Intrigued, I enquired as to what we were having for dinner. My friend gave me an apologetic shrug and told me that her mother loved to experiment with new ways of cooking, which almost always turned out way better than expected.
It wasn’t€™t long before dinner was served and I finally had a chance to see what was in store for me. A delicate stew, chock-full of traditional Chinese ingredients still steaming hot, was the centre-piece for the dinner. With a sharp yet refreshing aroma riding on the steam, I couldn’t€™t wait to tuck in. As we started wolfing down the food and slurping on the soup, I got my friend’s mother to talk a bit about this wondrously original dish.
The recipe for the 5 Earthly Treasures Vegetarian Mutton Stew originated from the Teochew province in China and is said to strengthen the spleen, nourish the liver and kidneys and replenish the body’s vital energy. In the stew, there is Ginseng, which boosts the body’s immune system; Gingko Nuts: which increases brain-power and relieves asthma and flu-related symptoms; Dried Tangerine Peels, which strengthens the spleen and stomach while discouraging indigestion; Red Dates, which builds up red blood cells; and Chinese Wolfberries, which protects the liver and improves eyesight.
And it tastes great too! My mind was blown away.
When I told my friend and her mother about this blog, they gladly assented to have the recipe posted online and shared with all our readers.
5 Earthly Treasures Vegetarian Mutton Stew (serves 6)
|Fresh Ginseng (available at vegetable stalls)||2 pieces|
|Mock mutton (can be substituted with Chinese mushrooms)||As appropriate|
|Red dates||12 pcs|
|Gingko nuts||20 pcs|
|Dried tangerine peel||1 whole piece|
|Small rock sugar||2 pieces|
Slice the Ginseng, mutton, yams and tangerine peel into bite-sized pieces. Then add all the ingredients, except the mock mutton, into a pot of boiling water and slow-cook for 1 hour over low heat. Add the mock mutton and cook for another 20 minutes.
Add the seasoning before serving.
It’s amazing what you can do with common fresh ingredients and the right seasoning. This is one healthy dish that will stay on my personal menu for a long time to come!