There are probably many people who think that “yakuzen”, or medicinal cooking, is difficult to make and would feel awkward trying to, or that it may be good for our bodies, but it does not sound like it is very tasty.
However, there is a great variety to the yakuzen recipes that the medicinal cooking expert Sumi Sakaguchi shares with us, including not only Japanese or Chinese food, but also others such as Italian food. Moreover, her recipes are easy to make, tasty, and good for our body and mind! We can say with no doubt that everybody in the family will be satisfied with them!
This time, Sakaguchi is introducing to us another “yakuzen recipe to keep body and mind healthy in Singapore’s everlasting summer.” This one is a Toscana Salad using lotus seed and hijiki, which is rich in minerals.
Lotus seeds and hijiki Toscana Salad
Ingredients (4 servings)
- Lotus seeds…120g
- Red onion…1/4
- Tuna…1 can
- Long hijiki…7g
- Any preferred herbs (sage, parsley, dill, etc)… a proper amount (to one’s liking)
- Olive oil…1 tablespoon
- Lemon juice…1 tablespoon
- Salt…1/3 of a teaspoon
- Coarsely ground black pepper…To liking.
How to prepare
Soak the lotus seed in plenty of water for about half a day. Put them in a pot, turn the fire on and when the water boils, lower the fire and cook from 20 to 30 minutes. Once they become soft they can be used in the same way as beans.
- 1) Wash the hijiki, soak it in water, rinse after pouring hot water around on it, cut in pieces of about 3 cm. Slice the red onion and wash with water.
- 2) Chop the herbs finely.
- 3) Mix the boiled lotus seeds, the hijiki, the sliced red onion and the tuna with the salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon and herbs.
* You can also cut boiled eggs in cubes and add them to the salad so it will be also fit for children, and it will increase in volume.
The point of this medicinal cooking recipe, according to Sakaguchi
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is said that when it is hot, it is easy for the heat to enter the “heart (mind.)” This is called “infuriation” and it causes symptoms such as an overly warm body, irritation, poor sleeping or waking up too early.
In this situation, it is the “lotus seed” that takes the heat from the heart and brings it back to peacefulness.
Lotus seeds are made by steaming and drying the seed that remains after the lotus flower has bloomed. It is an ingredient also used in herbal medicine, and it can be used in the same way as beans for food. I recommend it to people whose daily lives are too stressful, and also when someone wants to switch from on (active) to off (relaxed.) It relaxes our mind and takes away hot flashes and irritation.
By the way, lotus seeds have a hard core and, since it tastes bitter, we remove it when cooking. Actually, this core is even more effective as a tranquilizer than the seed itself, so it is recommended to make tea out of it and drink it when one wants to relax.
This is an Italian salad which will make hijiki tasty even to children who usually do not like it very much. Make sure you try it!
Recipe by: Sumi Sakaguchi, expert in medicinal cooking.
Representative of Kanpo Kitchen Inc. Professor at the Japanese branch of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Pioneer in researching about traditional Chinese medicinal cooking in Japan. She studied abroad in Beijing from 1991, becoming the first government sponsored Japanese student overseas. She holds lessons of medicinal cooking and does menu consultations for companies and municipalities. She did her research on the medicinal cooking records from the Qing Dinasty Court at the Xiyuan Hospital CACMS, at the graduate studies division of the Beijing University of Chinese medicine. She has also written numerous books including “Omedeta yakuzen (published by Shufunotomo Co.)” [Happy yakuzen] and “Seitaikou no anti-aging recipe (published by Shufunotomo Co.)” [The anti-aging recipes of Empress Dowager.] She loves China to the point that she went to study abroad there in 2012 with her 7 year old daughter.