I’m a firm believer in the saying that ‘beauty isn’t skin deep’. As much as I believe in a good skin care regime, I believe in nourishing my body through the food I eat as well.
I find that how I look and feel at any given time depends on my lifestyle (I’m still trying to achieve the elusive eight hours of sleep daily). As a woman, I’m discovering that simply eating healthily may not be enough, and I find my diet needs to be supplemented, especially after every menstrual cycle.
I’m always encouraged to see both women and men who look younger than their age, with glowing skin. These people are not those who frequent facials or undergo Botox. One such lady (as I’ve mentioned in my previous post) is Datin Anisah, who at 72 looks no more than 50. Datin’s secret is herbal remedy and detox. My husband has a friend who is a dealer of bird’s nests and, now in his 50s, he has such wonderfully smooth skin he looks 20 years younger as well. I have also noticed many Chinese medicine shops owners have young-looking skin as well.
So here, I would like to share some of the healthy recipes I’ve been using for years to keep my skin looking in great condition. They are practical recipes and most do not require expensive ingredients. Do check back often as I update these recipes regularly.
Series #1 Chicken Essence Recipe
The consumption of chicken essence has long been used as a traditional remedy for fatigue in Asian countries, due to its richness in the antioxidants anserine and carnosine. In a study entitled Effect of Taking Chicken Essence on Stress and Cognition of Human Volunteers it was found that students who ingested essence of chicken fared significantly better, and in fact, during my own high school and university days, I remember having Brand’s Chicken Essence during my exams to boost mental alertness.
Essence of chicken has concentrated amounts of proteins, amino acids and peptides.
It basically means double boiling a whole chicken to extract the essence, with no water needed or added. One whole chicken will normally make one rice bowl of essence (or soup).
During my confinement period, my confinement lady made me a bowl of chicken essence a day – that’s daily for 30 days! I still remember how I felt so energetic, without needing a nap at all during the day. Nowadays, even though this soup boasts of its energy-giving ability, I like making it every month because it is protein rich and, as we all know, protein is important for beautiful skin, hair and nails.
Furthermore, I like using black chicken or the Silkie breed of chicken, because it has less fat than regular chicken and double the amount of carnosine.
The following recipe uses a double-boiling method. The inner pot of a double boiler is covered with a lid and its content does not come into direct contact with any external matter, not even the steam. Hence, the original nutrients and flavour of the ingredients are safely ‘locked’ inside the inner pot and do not run the risk of being carried away by the hot water vapour.
What you need:
- 1 x whole black chicken.
- A pinch of salt to taste.
- De-skin chicken for less fat in the soup.
- Cut chicken to small pieces.
- Smash up the chicken pieces using the back of a chopper so that the essence from the chicken can be easily released.
There are two ways of making essence of chicken.
1. Using a double boiler pot.
This type of double boiler can be hard to come by. It has an inner pot with a perforated lid about an inch above the base, which can be easily lifted up. The chicken pieces are placed on top of this lid. When the pot is boiling, the essence will drip down through the hole to the base of the inner pot. After double boiling for four hours, allow the pot to cool. Remove the covers, and remove all the dried-up chicken pieces from the inner pot. Lift up the perforated lid and there you have your essence of chicken: this looks like a clear, golden broth.
2. Make your own double boiler
What you need:
- 1 x rice bowl
- 1 x Chinese boiling jar
- 1 x steaming wire plate
- 1 x metal stockpot (ensure this pot is large enough to put in the Chinese double boiling jar)
Let the fun begins:
- Turn the rice bowl upside down and place it into the bottom of Chinese double boiling jar.
- Place the steaming wire plate at the bottom of the stockpot and then place the Chinese double boiling jar on top of the steaming wire plate.
- Place all the mashed up chicken into the Chinese double boiling jar. It should look like this:
- (INSERT PHOTO HERE)
- Cover all the lids and double boil for three hours.
- Turn off the fire and let it cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Open the lid and remove the dried up chicken. Once you turn off the heat, the essence from the chicken (which by now sits at the bottom of the jar) will slip through to the rice bowl facing down. Higher air pressure from the jar will push the liquid to the vacuum area of low pressure inside the rice bowl. That is why you don’t see any liquid when you remove the chicken pieces.
- Slowly, remove the rice bowl and the essence will splash right out.
- Season with salt and drink warm!
You may want to further sieve the essence with an oil sieve to remove oil and other residues from the chicken. Enjoy cooking and trust you will find yourself “recharged” after consuming the soup!
Karen Loke – Founder and Practitioner, Restoring Mums