Codonopsis (dang shen) and red dates (hong zao) are two of the more commonly used Chinese herbs. Codonopsis is said to help increase appetite and immune system, while red dates are good to maintain healthy blood pressure and full of vitamin C and super perfect when you have cold. Both of these are said to be really good for women during confinement period, a.k.a after pregnancy, so if you are looking for food to prepare during this period, give this a try.
I am going to say it now since there probably will be readers asking about it later. I am not a trained Chinese herbalist, so what I know is just what teeny tiny amount of family wisdom passed down from Grandma to Mom to me, which is not much. If you need a more scientific explanation, please consult a professional 😉 Anyway, let’s talk a bit about this dish.
This recipe is super simple, basically it’s just dump everything in a wok/pot and let it simmer until soft and tender. Next is just a matter of boiling down the liquid to reduce it into sauce and thicken it with the help of corn starch slurry. This is a very easy food to reheat, so I always make lots and reheat a little throughout the week for lunch or dinner.
If you love dishes with Chinese herbs, you are going to love this simple codonopsis, shiitake, and red dates chicken. It is more traditional to use one whole chicken cut up into pieces, but I like to simply use 8 pieces of drumsticks. Another good option is to use chicken thighs. I honestly think chicken breasts are not a good match for this dish, but you can use that too if you wish.
Codonopsis, Shiitake, and Red Dates
Let’s take a closer look on the herbs we are using. Codonopsis (党參/黨參/dǎngshēn) is used in many Chinese herbal soup, and is a popular substitute for ginseng. Dried shiitake is super flavorful and very fragrant. They need to be soaked overnight in plenty of water to soften. Don’t throw away the soaking water, use it as “water” if the recipe calls for it, or store and use as vegetarian stock. Red dates (红枣 /hóng zǎo) is a very popular Chinese herbs used in soup, dishes, and even made into tea and dessert. It is so common in Chinese dishes that it is almost a guarantee that you will be able to buy them from any big or small Chinese grocery store.
The only challenge for this dish lies in gathering all the ingredients. But once you have everything ready, this is basically a simple braising dish, meaning it needs to simmer in low heat for a couple of hours. If you prefer pork dishes, you can also use boneless pork shoulder ribs in place of chicken.
When I am in a cooking rut, I tend to fall back to easy and quick recipes that get me reliably delicious result time after time. One such recipe is this Thai red curry chicken & cauliflower.
In all honesty, the cauliflower is incidental. It just so happen to be what I have when I cooked this dish. You can pretty much use any vegetables you have. I have tried everything from carrots, potatoes, broccoli, eggplants, pretty much anything you can think of and so far none turns out to be a flop.
Red curry paste and coconut milk
A good Thai curry starts with using good curry paste. I have tried quite a lot of brands, and my taste buds tend to gravitate towards maesri and mae ploy.
You also need coconut milk.
You can make a pretty decent curry from just curry paste and coconut milk, but I always like to push it a bit more by adding lemongrass, palm sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and ginger.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice
Personally, I prefer to eat Thai curries with Thai jasmine rice. I think it is just the best pairing. But if all you have is Indian basmati rice, or Japanese shorter grain rice, both should work just as well, though not quite as perfect 🙂
I love Chinese herbs such as red dates, goji berries, and dried longan. Though they are most commonly used in Chinese herbal soups, there is nothing wrong in whipping out desserts out of them, especially when the the said dessert looks this pretty and tastes so light and yummy.
This lovely dessert is vegan-friendly and completely gluten-free. It is also full of anti oxidant and is nutritious for your body. And I am totally in love with the deep ruby red color of the jelly. ♥
Red dates, goji berries, and longan
These ingredients should be the three most commonly found in Chinese grocery store.
Red dates (jujube) are also very common in Korean cuisine, so you may be able to find this if you are close to a Korean grocery store.
Goji berries are getting mainstream lately, I have even spotted them in my regular grocery.
As for longan, it is best if you can get the dried version and then rehydrate. But if your only option is the canned version, that should also work, but your jelly will probably be less dark red compared to mine. Plus, I actually prefer the taste of rehydrated longan in this dessert (and many Chinese herbal soups) compared to the canned version.
Konnyaku jelly powder vs. agar powder
Once you cook everything, you end up with a sweet soup. To transform the soup into solid jelly form, you can either use konnyaku jelly powder, or agar powder. I have personally tried these following two brands for this recipe.
This is not the same as the Swallow Brand 7 gram packet of agar-agar powder (notice the lack of “jelly” in the 7 gram packet). You can get more detail from Swallow Globe site to scrutinize the difference so you don’t get the wrong one.
2. Now real food agar powder.
Again, you need 10 gram of the powder for this recipe.
With konnyaku jelly powder, I get a slightly chewy jelly. With agar powder, I get a cleaner crispier texture for my jelly. What you like depends on your personal preference. Taste wise, they are both the same. And regardless of choice, you still end up with a vegan friendly dessert.
Choice of jelly mold
With this recipe, you will end up with about 4.5-5 cups worth of liquid plus the solid herbs.
The easiest and fuss free option is to pour into an 8-inch square pan, let it solidify, and then cut into serving sizes just like a cake.
You can also pour them into individual serving ramekins or pretty ceramic glasses/bowls. Once the jelly becomes solid, you can serve them directly without unmolding.
When I am short on time but still want to cook something quick and healthy, I often rely on steamed dishes. Today, I am going to share this steamed chicken with red dates recipe, a super easy dish, super fast to prepare, and pretty healthy to boot.
If you want to be extra healthy, opt for free range chicken, or ayam kampung in Indonesian, which literally means village chicken. Ayam kampung tends to be smaller in size and the meat is much leaner compared to normal (farmed) chicken. But normal chicken will work just fine.
Why chicken thigh is better for steaming
Steamed dishes tend to be free of oil, and this steamed chicken with red dates is no exception, that is why I prefer to use chicken thigh to make the dish juicier.
If all you have is chicken breast, you can go for it too, maybe add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil in the mix to make up for the lack of oil.
Alternatively, is you are using one free range chicken (ayam kampung), get your butcher to chop it into 18-20 pieces and you can use the whole chicken in this recipe. The free range chicken option is the one my Mom prepares for us all the time.
Chinese red dates/jujube
The only required Chinese herb for this dish is some Chinese red dates/jujube. Most Chinese groceries and even Korean groceries should have red dates/jujube available, some times in a dizzying array of options, from seedless, with seeds, and so many different brands.
And if you are feeing a bit more adventurous, you can also add even more Chinese herbs to the mix. Some of my favorites include:
Shaoxing wine and it’s alternative
To find a good Shaoxing wine, I highly recommend you skip the cooking aisle and head to the wine/sake/alcoholic beverages section of your Asian grocery.
A good size store, such as 99 Ranch Market or the like, should have at the very least one good Shaoxing wine available. And by good, I mean, it’s meant to be for drinking, and as such should have 0% salt!
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense right? Since when we cook dishes with red wine or white wine, the one we prepare with drinking red/white wine will always be superior to the one with cooking red/cooking white wine. 🙂
Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies (Gluten Free)
Annyeong…. fiuhhh finally bisa balik ngepost resep lagi, setelah beberapa purnama terhalang masuk ke dapur karena proyek renovasi rumah yang melebar kemana-mana. Padahal dua bulan yang lalu lagi seneng-senengnya terima orderan Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread yang terpaksa harus closed sementara karena dapurnya diacak-acak. Eh begitu dapurnya kelar malah mood bakernya yang acak-acakan dan males-malesan hihihi.
Supaya nggak terlanjur males dan itu stock tepung serta kawan-kawannya berakhir expired di lemari, kemarin saya putuskan buat masuk dapur dan bikin cemilan buat temen ngopi. Mulai dari yang gampang-gampang aja dulu ya, mumpung punya perasa red velvet dan cream cheese ukuran 2kg yang masih nangkring cantik dalam kulkas jadi kali ini kita bikin Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.
Kebayang nggak brownies dengan aroma, rasa dan warna red velvet yang menggoda, texturenya moist dan fudge dengan topping cream cheese melimpah. Hasil akhirnya memiliki rasa manis yang pas di lidah, rich dan creamy. Perfect buat temen ngopi pagi, apalagi untuk penikmat espresso, this red velvet brownies will brighten your day.
Oh ya karena saya sedang mengurangi asupan gluten, jadi resep asli Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies dari SallyBakingAddictions ini saya modif dengan menggunakan tepung gluten free. Untuk jenis olahan seperti brownies penggunaan tepung gluten free sebagai pengganti terigu biasa tidak memiliki efek yang terlalu signifikan pada hasil akhirnya. Malah menurut saya browniesnya jadi lebih chewy dan bikin nggak bosen-bosen buat ngunyah.
Yang mau nyoba bikin, berikut ini saya tuliskan kembali resepnya dalam bahasa Indonesia dengan sedikit modifikasi. Happy Baking 🙂
RESEP RED VELVET CHEESECAKE SWIRL BROWNIES
RED VELVET BROWNIES:
2 butir telur utuh
115 gram unsalted butter
2 sdt vanilla
21 gram cocoa powder (saya pakai tulip burgundy)
150 gram gula pasir halus ( bisa diadjust sesuai kemanisan yg diinginkan)
¼ sdt garam
1 sdm pewarna red velvet (saya pakai golden brown)
¾ sdm white vinegar (saya pakai perasan jeruk lemon)
Panaskan oven dengan suhu 180°C. Siapkan loyang non stick ukuran 20 x 20 cm alasi dengan kertas roti, sisihkan.
Buatlah lapisan red velvet brownies terlebih dahulu. Pertama-tama kocok lepas dua butir telur dalam mangkok, sisihkan.
Kemudian lelehkan mentega dalam wadah lainnya (saya menggunakan microwave dengan bowl kaca tahan panas, pastikan wadah yang digunakan cukup besar untuk mencampur bahan-bahan lainnya)
Setelah mentega mencair, masukkan gula pasir halus, aduk rata.
Tambahkan vanilla, kemudian masukkan cocoa powder, garam, pewarna red velvet dan vinegar / air lemon. Campur jadi satu dengan cara diaduk menggunakan whisker atau spatula (ikuti urutan untuk memasukkan bahan-bahan).
Setelah tercampur, tambahkan telur yang sudah dikocok lepas. Terakhir masukkan tepung secara bertahap, aduk hingga tercampur rata, jangan over mix.
Tuangkan adonan brownies dalam Loyang yang sudah disiapkan , sisakan sekitar 2 atau 3 sdm untuk bagian atasnya nanti.
Lanjutkan untuk membuat lapisan cheesecake, campurkan semua bahan dalam mixing bowl, mixer menggunakan kecepatan sedang hingga adonan lembut.
Tuangkan adonan cream cheese di atas adonan red velvet brownies, ratakan dengan spatula. Lalu beri sisa adonan red velvet yang tadi sudah disisihkan. Dengan menggunakan lidi atau pisau, buat motif swirl.
Oven brownies dengan suhu 180°C selama kurang lebih 30 menit atau gunakan test tusuk untuk memastikan adonan sudah matang. Setelah matang keluarkan dari oven, biarkan uap panasnya hilang baru lepaskan dari Loyang dan potong-potong.
Note: Brownies ini tahan di suhu ruang selama 3 hari dan disimpan dalam kulkas selama 6 hari.