Character Sweets of Pompompurin Cafe Japan (ポムポムプリンカフェ)

Pompom Tiramisu

The price is 550 yen each (tax included).

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Chinese-style Eight-treasure Soup

Ingredients

4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tblespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
2 oz Chinese bacon or ham, cut into thin strips
4 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
8 oz chicken breast fillet
1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch slices
12 small raw prawns, peeled and deveined
6-1/2 oz firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1-3/4 oz sliced bamboo shoots
3-1/2 oz spinach, chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Method

  1. Soak the mushrooms in 1/2 cup boiling water for 20 minutes. Squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquid. Discard the woody stalks and cut the caps into quarters.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oils and swirl to coat the side of the wok, then add the ginger, spring onion and bacon. Cook for about 10 seconds before adding the stock, soy sauce, rice wine, mushroom liquid and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil.
  3. Add the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and poach the chicken for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the stock and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat.
  5. Return the stock to the boil, add the carrot and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the prawns, tofu, bamboo shoots, spinach and chicken meat to the wok and cook over low heat for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with the extra spring onion.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Chinese bacon has a dryish flesh with a strong flavour very much like prosciutto. You can substitute prosciutto.

Source: The Essential Wok Cookbook

Singaporean Cuisine in New York

Kelly Ng wrote . . . . . . . . .

How far would you travel for crabs slathered in black pepper and spicy sauce, an experience that requires more napkins than you have hands, and is likely to blemish your clothes?

If the crowds flocking to Yummy Tummy in Queens, New York City – despite no subway access – are any indication, people are happy to go the extra mile for one of Singapore’s most loved dishes.

Long lines form outside the restaurant, especially on the evenings and weekends. Patrons come from all over New York and beyond, lured by the appetizing smells of curry leaves, black pepper and chili.

Novelty may be one of the reasons for Yummy Tummy’s popularity. Despite Singapore’s reputation as a food paradise, its cuisine has not yet developed a profile in the United States.

There are plenty of Southeast Asian flavours in the melting pot of New York, but Singaporean eateries are few and far between.

For many years, Malaysian eateries like Kopitiam, Rasa, and the Nyonya chain were the closest thing New Yorkers had to a taste of Singapore. Even the Singapore consulate relied on these places to cater their National Day celebrations.

That has changed in the past year, with a wave of made-in-Singapore offerings emerging in the Big Apple. Yummy Tummy is one of them.

Richard Chan, 57, who moved to New York nearly 40 years ago, started the bistro last August, hoping to introduce Singapore’s hawker favourites to his adopted home.

“I hope people realise Singapore has its own cultural differences from other Chinese, because they used to think that Singapore is all Chinese,” says Chan, a former travel agent who now runs Yummy Tummy with his wife. “I explain to them that we are a multi-ethnic society where everyone blends together: we have Indians, Malays, Chinese and what we call Eurasians. And because of all these ethnic groups we have a blend of cooking, of cuisine, very particular to only Singapore.”

CREATIVE COMPROMISES

Chan’s two-storey bistro stands out in a predominantly Korean neighbourhood, with a menu boasting the city state’s culinary staples, including chili crab, Hokkien noodles and Hainanese chicken rice.

Chan remains committed to authentic Singaporean fare but has made some modifications to cater to his American clientele. He uses less pepper in his version of bak kut teh (a pork-ribs broth, native to Singapore and Malaysia). He has also instructed the kitchen to remove bones from the Hainanese chicken dish because “Americans like putting a fork in and just eating the meat”.

Chan isn’t alone. In the nearby Queens night market, Amy Pryke, who moved to New York eight years ago for college, doles out “dry” laksa noodles which she believes will be a more palatable option during the summer.

“I am also experimenting with thicker rice noodles than typically used as they are more appealing to the target audience here in New York,” says Pryke, 28, who is studying at Columbia Business School.

“In my eight years in New York City, I have struggled to find authentic food from home. Singapore also boasts a wide variety of noodles unique to the country; from prawn mee to char kway teow, laksa, and mee soto. I believe there will be an appetite for it.”

Ian and Marc Seah, who co-founded salted-egg crisps brand Tochi Snacks with Ian’s girlfriend, Dina Shi, have also tinkered with their recipe to cater to an American palette.

“Our audience in the US is more sophisticated in the sense that they care more about health benefits,” says Shi, a 27-year-old American born to Taiwanese parents. “We try to use organic and local if we can, and we use ghee instead of butter. Ghee is dairy-free. And we have also tried to go lighter on the spice.”

The Seah brothers – Ian is 32, Marc is 29 – have been living in the US for about a decade. They started Tochi after stumbling upon the salted egg craze during a trip back to Singapore with Shi last year. Shi was so eager she quit her job in the finance industry to join the venture full-time.

Operating out of a friend’s kitchen, the trio makes by hand about 600 bags of chips per month, most of which are stocked at Asian supermarkets and bubble tea stores in New York. Tochi Snacks has also provided an opportunity to educate the US market about Singaporean food cultures.

“We have found that Westerners can be quite confused about the product,” Shi says. “For example, people expect it to be chips made of salted egg, rather than salted egg flavour. Unless you grew up in Asia with your family eating salted egg with porridge, you may not be very familiar with the taste. So our products are definitely more familiar to Asians and American-born Asians.”

THE NEW WAVE OF ENTREPRENEURS

According to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington there were 34,600 Singaporean immigrants living in the US in 2017, most of them in the Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington corridor.

Many who ventured into New York’s restaurant scene failed to find a niche. Masak, run by Singapore-born chef Lawrence Reutens, opened in the East Village in 2011. It closed after less than two years.

Business in the Lower East Side, where Masak was located, was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

“When everything was back up and running in late November, the crowds still kind of stayed away from the area because the streets were still messed up,” Reutens says. “Once we didn’t hit our numbers for December or January, I knew that we’d be in trouble in the slow months.”

Reutens acknowledges that it can take time for new cuisines to be discovered and embraced in foreign markets. The younger Singaporeans, however, have social media on their side, compared to Reutens who “didn’t put (himself) out there enough”.

“Someone’s going to Instagram a kaya waffle with gold coconut dust and then they’ve won,” he says.

Social media skills aside, this new wave of Singaporean restaurateurs have taken the less obvious route – they may have arrived in the US to study or work but do not necessarily come from professional culinary backgrounds.

“It’s a very Asian mindset and stereotype regarding less typical routes like entrepreneurship,” says Shi, who was nervous about breaking the news to her parents after leaving her job. “I only told my dad about my venture with Tochi Snacks six months after. Actually, he found out first via my LinkedIn profile.”

Pryke, who had spent the last four years working in financial services and consulting, said she could have easily stayed in the sector and risen to become a partner.

“But when I was reflecting on my long-term goals, I decided it was ‘now or never’ to pursue my passion in food and the restaurant world,” she says.

Brother-sister duo Chuin and Yeen Tham, who co-founded Lion City Coffee last August to introduce the Singaporean-style kopitiam (coffee shop), agree.

Yeen says: “Every time we talk to our mum about this, she’s always like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? You guys are highly educated, you’re kind of just throwing that away?’”

STARTING SMALL, DREAMING BIG

Although both siblings have day jobs – Chuin as an accountant and Yeen as a lawyer – they have big dreams for Lion City Coffee.

“We want to do to kopi what industry giants did to drip coffee,” Chuin says.

They currently operate as a mobile outfit, serving coffee, tea, chai tow kueh (fried radish cake) and nasi lemak (coconut rice) at night markets and food festivals but they hope to eventually set up a permanent store.

Lion City Coffee was conceived in memory of their late father, who died in February 2016 after being diagnosed with cancer.

“He was always very interested in culinary adventures, always curious about how to make certain things,” Yeen says. “At home, he would clip out articles about how to make certain Asian dishes, even Singaporean dishes that he has come to miss.”

Upon moving to the US with his family some 30 years ago, their father started out as a dishwasher before working his way up to become a chef at the Imperial Szechuan restaurant in Connecticut.

However, the Tham siblings are unsure whether their father would have supported their business if he were still alive.

“To be very frank, if he knew of us doing this, he’d probably say, ‘Are you sure you want to do this with all your education? You guys are crazy’,” Chuin says.

“He’d probably yell at us. But, truthfully, he would be smiling from cheek to cheek,” Yeen adds. “He was a very, very Singaporean person.”

Back at Yummy Tummy’s in Queens, Richard Chan is already planning a second outlet. He does not see himself returning to Singapore to settle: the weather is too humid but the people tend to be “cold”, he says. He will always miss the food, though.

“The food is always, always so memorable,” he says. “You will never, never, never, never not miss the food.

“Even after 35 years here, I still miss the food. That’s one of the reasons I opened up a Singapore restaurant: I want to promote this kind of food.”

Source: SCMP

Chromosomes May Tell Is That Prostate Cancer Needs Treating

To treat, or not to treat: That remains one of the tough conundrums for men with prostate cancer and their doctors, because some tumors may be aggressive, while others may take decades to cause harm.

Now, new research suggests that tracking specific changes in the number of chromosomes inside prostate cancer cells might help solve the riddle.

Besides giving new insights into how prostate tumors form and spread, the chromosomal data might someday “be employed clinically to inform risk stratification and treatment” decisions for patients, according to a team led by Angelika Amon, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The research focuses on a genetic state known as aneuploidy — an abnormal number of chromosomes in cells. Aneuploidy is a known hallmark of cancer, but it’s unclear how it influences cancer progression, or whether tracking chromosome gains or losses might help guide treatment.

Treatment guidance for prostate cancer is sorely needed, said Dr. Manish Vira. He helps direct urologic research at Northwell Health’s Arthur Smith Institute for Urology, in Lake Success, N.Y.

That’s because use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test has fallen out of favor somewhat as a means of gauging whether a man needs surgery or other treatment, Vira said. In many cases, the tumor might turn out to be “indolent” — so slow-growing that it’s better to leave it in place and simply “watch and wait.”

So, “the holy grail in prostate cancer remains to be finding a test, given at the time of diagnosis, that can identify the subset of patients that are at highest risk of dying of prostate cancer,” explained Vira, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

In this study, Amon’s group was seeking just such a test.

The investigators used prostate tumor samples from 333 men to develop a method to estimate a “signature” pattern of chromosomal gains and losses within cells.

They then applied this method to 404 prostate cancer patients who were followed for a median of 15 years.

Compared to those who had no predicted aneuploidy, the 23% of patients whose tumors had five or more predicted chromosome arm alterations at the time of diagnosis were 5.3 times more likely to die of prostate cancer during follow-up, the findings showed.

Even among high-risk patients, the degree of tumor aneuploidy predicted future deadly prostate cancer, according to the study published May 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings suggest that aneuploidy does play a key role in aggressive prostate cancer, Amon’s team said, and that the extent of aneuploidy could be used to determine the level of risk from the cancer and to help make treatment decisions.

Vira agreed the tool has potential, and “could be used on prostate biopsy samples to further stratify patients at the time of diagnosis.”

Dr. Nicholas Karanikolas directs urologic oncology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. Reading over the new findings, he agreed that oncologists need “a broader understanding of the genetic makeup of the cancer itself” to help guide treatment.

Any test that might tell men they have a fivefold higher odds of dying from a prostate cancer “would provide further guidance as to those patients who would benefit from adjuvant treatments and/or inclusion in clinical trials,” Karanikolas said.

Source: HealthDay

A Nutty Solution for Improving Brain Health

Long-term, high nut consumption could be the key to better cognitive health in older people according to new research from the University of South Australia.

In a study of 4822 Chinese adults aged 55+ years, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory.

Lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr Ming Li, says the study is the first to report an association between cognition and nut intake in older Chinese adults, providing important insights into increasing mental health issues (including dementia) faced by an ageing population.

“Population aging is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty-first century. Not only are people living longer, but as they age, they require additional health support which is placing unprecedented pressure on aged-care and health services,” Dr Li says.

“In China, this is a massive issue, as the population is ageing far more rapidly than almost any other country in the world.

“Improved and preventative health care – including dietary modifications – can help address the challenges that an aging population presents.

“By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent– compared to those not eating nuts – effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline.”

China has one of the fastest growing aging populations. In 2029, China’s population is projected to peak at 1.44 billion, with the ratio of young to old dramatically imbalanced by the rising ranks of the elderly. By 2050, 330 million Chinese will be over age 65, and 90.4 million will be over age 80, representing the world’s largest population of this most elderly age group.

More broadly, the World Health Organization says that by 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than five years old.

The UniSA study analysed nine waves of China Health Nutrition Survey data collected over 22 years, finding that 17 per cent of participants were regular consumers of nuts (mostly peanuts). Dr Li says peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.

“Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health,” Dr Li says.

“While there is no cure for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.”

The World Health Organization estimates that globally, the number of people living with dementia is at 47 million.

By 2030, this is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple. China has the largest population of people with dementia.

“As people age, they naturally experience changes to conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed. This is all part of the normal ageing process,” Dr Li says

“But age is also the strongest known risk factor for cognitive disease. If we can find ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer – even by modifying their diet – then this absolutely worth the effort.”

Source: University of South Australia


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