Yakuzen (medicinal cooking) Recipe For A Healthy Mind and Body ~Yamaimo (Japanese mountain yam) and scallop stakes

Yakuzen (medicinal cooking) Recipe For A Healthy Mind and Body ~Yamaimo (Japanese mountain yam) and scallop stakes


We have again Chisumi Sakaguchi, the yakuzen cooking specialist with great yakuzen recipes for you that are gentle on the body. Her latest book released last September, “The Empress Dowager Cixi’s Anti-Aging Recipes” (Shufunotomo), is now available in Chinese in Taiwan, published by Taiwan Television Culture Co (TTVC).

This month, to commemorate the sale of the Chinese version of the book, we have for you a recipe specially picked from inside its pages.

Yamaimo and Scallop Stake


Ingredients (2 servings)

Yamaimo … 120g
Scallops, shelled … 120g (6 pieces)
Garlic … 1 clove
Olive oil … 2 tsps
Sake … 1 tbsp
Water … 1 tbsp
Mirin … 1 tsp
Light soy sauce … ½ tsp

【Serve with】
Wakame seaweed / cold kombu kelp / finely sliced cabbage / dried daikon radish strips (reconstituted) … as needed

1) Peel the yamaimo and cut it into six equal discs. Lightly rinse the scallops. Mince the garlic.
2) Add 1 tsp of olive oil to a non-stick frying pan. Arrange the yamaimo discs on the pan and thoroughly cook both sides on low heat. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper (amount not included). When the yamaimo starts to brown, remove from heat.
3) Add 2 tsps of olive oil and the garlic. When fragrant, add the scallops. Briefly sear both sides, lightly sprinkle some salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
4) Add the ingredients in [A] to a frying pan, and bring to a boil.
5) Serve the scallops on the yamaimo, and drizzle sauce from 4) over.
6) Drizzle leftover sauce on garnishing.

Yakuzen Info from Sakaguchi

To people of Chinese descent, yakuzen is a form of Chinese medical wisdom for preventing very common and familiar illnesses. However, it once used to be a luxurious diet reserved only for the royalty and nobility in their palaces. The last empress of the Qing dynasty, the Empress Dowager Cixi, would go out of her way to consume yakuzen as part of her daily diet. In a time when the average life expectancy was 50, she lived to the age of 74, and was reported to have dark, glossy black hair, and not a blemish on her skin. One of the ingredients she ate to maintain her beauty and health was yamaimo (Japanese mountain yam). Yamaimo is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called “shan yao” (mountain medicine).

It corrects the gastrointestinal processes, aids digestion very effectively, and reinforces the kidneys, which control the growth and aging of the body. It has particularly strong anti-aging effects, keeping the body youthful, and the skin moist and beautiful. Today’s easy recipe gives you these benefits in the convenient form of a patty made with the addition of scallops, another strong anti-aging food.

One 50-year-old lady I know started taking yamaimo because of irregular periods; after taking roughly 5cm-wide chunks of yamaimo every day, her periods started coming every month again. For women approaching menopause, I would say this is a food worth trying. It also improves the body’s basic strength, so you would do well getting some in your kids’ diet.

Recipe by: Sumi Sakaguchi, expert in medicinal cooking.

sumi Sakaguchi

Chisumi Sakaguchi’s book now has on sale in Taiwan

Chisumi Sakaguchi’s book “The Empress Xi’s Anti-Aging Recipes” now has a Chinese version on sale in Taiwan, published by Taiwan Television Culture Co (TTVC). Please give it a read.


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