My Recipe

Stir-fried Chicken with Peapod and Mushroom


10 oz boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh
6 oz fresh white button mushroom
4 to 7 oz peapod
1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp galangal (minced)
1 Tbsp or to taste fresh chili (minced, seeds removed)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)

Chicken Marinade:

2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oil


2-1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Golden Mountain seasoning sauce or Maggi seasoning
1 Tbsp sugar
2/4 tsp cornstarch


  1. Slice chicken and add marinade. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
  2. Wash and drain peapod. Trim off tips and strings. Slice button mushroom and set aside.
  3. Mix seasoning ingredients and set aside.
  4. Heat wok and add 2 Tbsp oil. Sauté mushroom for 1 minute. Add peapod. Toss and add 2 Tbsp water. Cover and cook until peapod is tender crisp. Remove.
  5. Rinse, dry and reheat wok. Add 1-1/2 Tbsp oil. Sauté half of the garlic, galangal and chili until fragrant. Add half of the chicken. Stir-fry until no longer pink. Remove. Add another1-1/2 Tbsp oil to wok. Sauté the remaining garlic, galangal and chili until fragrant. Add the remaining chicken. Stir-fry until no longer pink. Return previously cooked chicken to wok. Return mushroom and peapod to wok. Add seasoning. Keep tossing until sauce reboils. Add basil (if using). Toss to combine. Serve immediately with cooked long-grain rice.

Nutrition value for 1/6 portion of recipe:

Calorie 211, Fat 15.1 g, Carbohydrate 6 g, Fibre 1 g, Sugar 2 g, Cholesterol 30 mg, Sodium 1,022 mg, Protein 13 g.

Cooking Class: Homemade Barbecue Sauce

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Sauce vs. Marinade

It’s important not to confuse a marinade with a sauce. A marinade is a vinegary, acidic mixture used to treat meat before it’s cooked; the vinegar’s acid breaks down the fibers in the meat, tenderizing it and adding flavor. A marinade should never be used as a basting sauce at the end of cooking or as a table condiment. Unless you’ve boiled the marinade, bacteria from the raw meat could still be active.

Barbecue sauce, on the other hand, contains a naturally high level of sugar from the tomatoes (and, in most cases, additional sugar on top of that) and should be applied only to meat that’s been almost fully cooked. If sweet sauces are used to baste meat before or during the cooking process, they will caramelize and burn it.

What’s for Lunch?

Japanese Tomato Basil Chicken Set Lunch

The Menu

  • Baked Chicken Thigh and Eggplant in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce
  • Salad
  • Miso Soup
  • Rice

Can Chicken Soup Really Cure Body and Soul?

Juliane Schlag wrote . . . . .

Chicken noodle soup is regarded as a therapeutic dish in several cultures, including Jewish-American and Chinese communities where traditional medicine is practised.

Although researchers have not been able to determine the cause of the alleged positive effects of chicken soup, several studies have confirmed that it helps to unblock congested noses and throats.

Chinese chicken noodle

Archaeological evidence shows that people started using poultry to make soups soon after they discovered how to boil water. The earliest recorded evidence of chicken soup being used as a therapeutic dish dates back to Chinese antiquity. In the second century BC, the Chinese medical text, Huangdi Neijing, declared that chicken soup is a “yang food” – a warming dish – to which different therapeutic herbs can be added to cure various diseases.

In China, chicken soup is given to women after pregnancy and to elderly people. Both groups are considered to be in the need of energy-giving yang food, which is believed to transport “energy” around the body and have an invigorating effect.

One of the earliest recipes for Chinese noodles, “lamian”, dates back to the second century AD. In Chinese culture noodles represent a long life. Traditionally they were combined with chicken soup to emphasise the well-being of the family. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), noodle shops became widespread and chicken noodle soup was a popular dish. Recipes for chicken noodle soup were also exchanged with other parts of Asia.

The Jewish tradition

The Jewish folklore about chicken soup is closely tied to the central European medical history of chicken soup. The Greek physician Galen, in the second century AD, recommended chicken soup as a cure for migraine, leprosy, constipation and fever.

A few centuries later, in the Babylonian Talmud, a story refers to the chicken of Rabbi Abba (175–247) which, when cooked, served him as a general remedy.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Jewish philosopher and physician, Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), recommended chicken soup for the weak and the sick. But chicken soup remained an infrequently eaten dish until the 15th century. It was only then that a revival of raising chickens started to compensate for other meat shortages and people began to eat chicken soup regularly.

Similar to traditional Chinese practice, among Sephardic Jews the custom prevailed to give “caldo de gayina vieja” – old hen chicken broth – to women who had given birth and ill people. Sephardic Jews also developed the practice of serving chicken soup with rice – “soupa de kippur”.

After the 15th century, chicken soup slowly became a traditional dish within Jewish Ashkenazic culture, having spread from the Sephardic Jews to Eastern Europe. In Ashkenazic culture it became known for its colour as the “goldene yoykh”, “gilderne” or “goldzup” – golden soup. At special anniversaries and celebrations the floating fat bubbles are interpreted as signs for future happiness.

After World War II, Jewish emigrants popularised it in America, leading to its nickname “the Jewish penicillin”.

The scientific evidence

While there is a cultural belief that chicken soup has therapeutic properties, researchers cannot determine exactly why chicken soup, or which content of it, has a curative effect. Who knows, a turkey broth might be a fitting substitute. And, after Christmas, most people could do with a little pick-me-up.

Here is what we do know about chicken soup’s curative properties.

Marvin Sackner, in 1978, conducted a study showing that drinking chicken soup was significantly better at clearing up congestion in the nose compared with drinking hot or cold water.

In 1980, Irwin Ziment showed that chicken broth helps to thin mucous in the lungs with a higher effect being achieved when the broth was spiced. His study was followed up by Stephen Rennard in 2000 who argued that chicken soup, by reducing mucous in the lungs, supported the white blood cells in fighting a cold.

Generally, it can be observed that the calcium content of the soup increases with the duration of cooking and, depending on the composition, can have a mild anti-inflammatory effect.

Chicken soup is also said to have a calming effect, which has led some to claim that it can also heal the soul.

Source: The Conversation

Anxiety Raises Risk for Dementia

Many studies have focused on a link between depression and dementia, but the USC-led study of Swedish twins data indicates that anxiety may be much more significant factor in memory loss.

People who experienced high anxiety any time in their lives had a 48 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who had not, according to a new study led by USC researchers.

The findings were based on an examination of 28 years of data from the Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging, overseen by the Karolinska Institutet of Sweden. The study sample involved 1,082 participants – twins, fraternal and identical – who completed in-person tests every three years, answered several questionnaires and were screened for dementia throughout the study.

Many other studies have explored the link between dementia and psychological variables such as depression and neuroticism. However, this study established that the anxiety-dementia link was independent of the role of depression as a risk factor.

“Anxiety, especially in older adults, has been relatively understudied compared to depression,” said Andrew Petkus, the study’s lead author and postdoctoral research associate of psychology in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Depression seems more evident in adulthood, but it’s usually episodic. Anxiety, though, tends to be a chronic lifelong problem, and that’s why people tend to write off anxiety as part of someone’s personality.”

A final draft of the study was made available online last week in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The researchers noted that the subjects had self-reported various levels of anxiety, which may or may not meet the clinical diagnostic threshold of a psychiatric anxiety disorder. Even so, the twin who developed dementia had a history of higher levels of anxiety compared to the twin who did not develop dementia.

How anxious?

The subjects with anxiety who later developed dementia “are people that experience more than usual symptoms of anxiety,” said study co-author Margaret Gatz, a professor of psychology in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, who holds joint appointments in the USC Davis School of Gerontology and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“They are people who you would say operate at a ‘high level of anxiety,’” said Gatz, also a foreign adjunct professor for the Karolinska Insitutet. She said they are fidgety. “They are frantic, frazzled people.”

To determine whether anxiety levels correlated to dementia risk, researchers compared those who reported high anxiety with those who reported lower anxiety levels. “Those in the high anxiety group were about 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia,” Petkus said.

Possible explanation

Petkus said people who have high levels of anxiety tend to have higher levels of stress hormones, including cortisol. Evidence shows that chronically high levels of cortisol damage parts of the brain such as the hippocampus, which stores memory, and the frontal cortex, which is responsible for high-level thinking.

The researchers also found that the anxiety-dementia relationship was stronger among fraternal twins whom had only one develop dementia than among identical twins. The researchers said this finding indicates that there may be genetic factors shared by anxiety and dementia that account for the anxiety-dementia risk.

The USC team also hopes to determine whether individuals who have been treated for anxiety earlier in their lives show lower risk of dementia compared with those whose anxiety was not treated.

Source: University of Southern California

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