Korean Sprout Soup

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2011 11:49 Written by Flax Thursday, 30 June 2011 08:53

Kongnamulguk, or sprout soup as we say in English, is one of Korea’s national dishes.  It is a  a very healthy and nutritious soup that is really more of a meal than a first course. 

 Besides the fact that they are a great diet food, sprouts are also a really great energy food.  Sprouts represent a moment when a seed is in a state of transformation and  using a tremendous amount of energy.  When we eat sprouts we are consuming a tremendous gift of natural energy.  In addition, the transformation process basically means that nature is practically pre-digesting the food for you.  This is why sprouts give us more energy, and quicker energy, then any other food.   Try having a bowl of sprouts next time you are tired and see  what happens.  I personally think it works way better than a cup of coffee.

Sprouts are also extremely cooling.  The Asians often cook sprouts to avoid this problem.  This soup is great dish to eat all year round with the added advantage of being extremely simple.  It takes about five minutes of preparation time and another twenty minutes of cooking time.  It is served with brown rice and kimchee (spicy Korean pickles), both of which can be made ahead of time.  If  you are not a food perfectionist, you can replace the kimchee with sauerkraut or any pickled vegetables.  Just spice up whatever pickles you already have in the house, add some chilli peppers and ginger and call it kimchee.

Ingredients:

  • sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 package mung bean sprouts
  • 1 large piece of kombu (seaweed)
  • 3 scallions, sliced on an angle into small pieces
  • soy sauce
  • hot chilli flakes
  • 11/2 cups cooked brown rice

Saute the garlic, onion, and chilli pepper in the sesame oil.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for five minutes.  Add the sprouts and simmer for fifteen minutes more.  Add the scallions and remove from the flame.

Place the rice, soy sauce, kimchee (pickles) and chilli pepper on the table.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add the remaining ingredients at the table.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

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Radish Leaf Pesto

Last Updated on Thursday, 3 March 2011 05:27 Written by Flax Thursday, 3 March 2011 05:12

Seasonal cooking calls for springtime detox.  The best foods for detoxifying the body are bitter herbs.  I decided to talk this week about bitter herbs and how they help to alleviate “damp” conditions in the body-specifically a yeast condition known as candidiasis.   

Somehow, the idea of bitter herbs and yeast brought to mind another spring connection–you got it, Passover or to be more specific, the Passover seder.  With that connection made, I realized that the two have even more in common than I had originally thought.

Candidiasis is one of the health conditions that I see constantly in my nutritional work and in my clinic.  Candida is  a yeast-like fungi which loves “damp” conditions.  Symptoms of candida include, chronic fatigue, mental sluggishness, vaginitis, prostatitis, anal itching, bloating, digestive problems, bad breath, weak immune system, and cravings for sweets and yeasted breads. 

One doctor, Dr. Kurt Donsbach, goes so far as to say that candidiasis is the root cause of all major diseases.  This is because a yeast condition in the body disrupts the function of the whole body.  It is a case of a parasite taking control of your body and changing your natural eating inclinations, as well as your sleep requirements, all in order to serve your new master who now controls your most basic desires.  To begin the healing process,  one must first treat the candida.  The first step in healing candida is to avoid foods that contain sugar and  yeast, and to eat bitter foods and herbs.

Bam!  The lightbulb turned on.  Combine cleaning, bitter herbs, and yeast and there it is:  Seder night.  At the Seder we discuss how we went from slavery to freedom, not only physically but emotionally as well.   At the Passover Seder we are commanded to eat bitter foods.  We are also forbidden to eat bread.  Bread is flour which is caused to rise by the addition of yeast and sugar. 

Like at Passover, by eliminating the yeast and the sugar from the diet and  through eating  bitter foods we are getting rid of the parasites which inhabit our bodies as well as our souls.  In eliminating the parasite within, we no longer labor to serve a foreign body but rather are able to connect to our true selves. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch radish leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 stalks coriander
  • 2″ chilli pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole sesame paste
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 tsp water

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor.

Serve as a condiment, or add more oil and lemon and serve as a salad dressing.

Note:  Most supermarkets remove the leaves from the radishes.  To find radish leaves you should try your local fruit and vegetable store or the shuk.

I would also like to say that even though this dish sounds way too healthy, it was loved by the whole class.

Enjoy!

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