Diet, food, food allergy, herbal medicine, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Make your own Vietnamese rice paper rolls

IMG_1734We’ve been experiencing some sky high temperatures in Brisbane this summer, with more to come. Now, Chinese medicine usually frowns upon a large intake of raw and cold temperature foods but on days like today fresh, raw food is incredibly cooling and refreshing. If you want to know more about how to live well in Summer (including some cooling tips) click here.

So, I’ve been making some vegetarian rice paper rolls. These can be easily adapted to include the vegies that you like best – you can use my recipe just as a suggestion. My rice paper rolls recipe is vegetarian but you can substitute the tofu for organic chicken or duck if that is your preference.

Cucumber, lettuce and mint are considered to be thermally cold in Chinese medicine and that’s exactly why we’re using them on such a hot day. I like to team them up with some warming herbs including basil and coriander and a sauce that includes some fresh grated ginger and chilli to support the spleen and stomach (digestive system) with the extra burden of harder to digest raw food. So pay attention to your own body folks, and adjust the amount of raw food you eat that makes you feel well. Those with weak digestive systems or a tendency to ‘feel the cold’ would most likely do well to limit the raw food.

But back to the rice paper rolls (and they are gluten and dairy-free too) – here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian rice paper rolls

Ingredients

Vary the ingredient quantities to make the amount of rolls that you require. It’s easy to prepare some more salad ingredients as you go if you run short.

  • Rice papers (round, Vietnamese ones) – you’ll need 2 per finished roll
  • Lettuce leaves, medium size (can be fancy lettuces – mix it up with some different colours and varieties)
  • Carrot, grated
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced and about 10cm long
  • Yellow capsicum, thinly sliced. (Optional)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Tofu, pre-fried. Cut into thin slices.
  • Mint leaves, about 3-5 per roll
  • Basil leaves, 2-4 per roll
  • Coriander leaves, sliced and sprinkle on each roll. (Optional)

Method

  1. Add some warm water to a large bowl.
  2. Soak a rice paper in the water for a few seconds and place on a clean, flat surface. Repeat with another rice paper and place it on top of the first rice paper.
  3. Lie a lettuce leaf in the half closest to you on the rice paper.
  4. Then top with some carrot,  cucumber and capsicum. IMG_1715
  5. Add on top the avocado and tofu slices. IMG_1716
  6. Then place a few mint, basil and coriander leaves on top. IMG_1717
  7. Roll the rice paper end that is closest to you over the top squeezing the ingredients in tightly*. Roll away from you and tuck the sides in before you have finished rolling it up.IMG_1720
  8. Repeat until you have made as many rice paper rolls as you desire. You can then serve them whole or slice them in half on an angle.  IMG_1724

*When you first start making these it will take a few attempts to get the filling quantity and rolling technique right, but once you have it these are easy to make.

A quick dipping sauce can be made with a dash of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), sweet chilli sauce, rice wine vinegar and freshly grated ginger. Set the quantities to suit your own taste.IMG_1729

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

Diet, fertility, food, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The aubergine eggplant: a therapeutic culinary delight

Mediterranean eggplant salad webDo you say eggplant or aubergine? This is one of those topics that can generate a heated dinner party discussion.

I say eggplant. But feel free to substitute aubergine in your head if it makes you happy.

And I do love a good eggplant dish. This weekend I have been enjoying this versatile fruit (yes, it has seeds which classifies it as a fruit) in a variety of tasty ways. There are just so many ways you can cook with it, including:

  • Stuffed
  • Baked
  • Fried, barbecued or grilled (then used as you wish – I love it in this warm salad with preserved lemons – pictured)
  • Stir-fried (one of my favourite dishes when I was studying in China was an eggplant and garlic dish)
  • Steamed
  • In casseroles
  • In curries (one of my favourite curries features pumpkin and eggplant – it is to die for!)
  • To replace toast (eggs on grilled eggplant slices) or lasagne noodles (layer eggplant slices)
  • In dips (as in baba ganoush)

If you’ve never cooked with eggplant before, this is how it can be prepared to reduce bitterness and reduce the amount of oil they soak up in cooking.

The humble eggplant has some fabulous Traditional Chinese Medicine therapeutic uses including:

  • Clears heat from the blood (e.g. red rashes, heavy menstrual bleeding , haemorrhoids or bleeding disorders in general).
  • Moves blood, harmonises the Liver and the Uterus (e.g. painful periods, irregular periods or clotted menstrual blood).
  • Reduces swelling and eases pain (e.g. premenstrual oedema, breast tenderness or mastitis).
  • Regulates and cools the intestines (e.g. constipation or diarrhoea where the stool is smelly and the patient feels hot or experiences burning sensations).
  • May be soothing for someone repressing emotions (e.g. anger, frustration, irritation and resentment).

Just a note, if you do suffer from menstrual or bleeding disorders these should be discussed with your health professional for appropriate investigations and  treatment options.

Have you got a favorite eggplant recipe?

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.