Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kamias: Ferment It!

This is what I love to do with kamias: ferment it!

As kids, we'd pick kamias fruits which grew in abundant clusters even on the lowest parts of the tree and try to hit each other with them. The super ripe fruits easily crushed on our faces and the watery, sourly juice would splash on our shirts. Ha! That was so much fun!

I never understood why so many ants would love to hang around the kamias tree, going up and down with excitement, when its fruits are super sour. Up to this day, my only guess is that the flowers probably have something to do with it. Or, probably its o.61 grams of protein makes ants crazy about it. I don't know.

Of all the sourly ingredients used for my favorite native Sinigang recipe, kamias is my favorite. The dish has the right sourness and you get to eat the fruit, besides. And it's easy to cook: just put in the fruits while boiling the fish or meat to tenderize them and then crush the fruits when tender to help ooze out its fruity flavor. You get lots of fibers.

Kamias has vitamins and minerals--Vitamin C to be sure. It has iron, protein, and calcium, to name a few. Eat the fruit raw and you get all the nutrition. If you can't eat super sour raw fruits like it, then try slicing the crunchy fruit (it's like pickles) really thin and mix it with ripe mangoes, tomatoes, and onions, with a sprinkling of salt or preserved fish (bagoong in Tagalog).


Or ferment it!

This is among my favorite kamias preparations. Locally we call it "burong kamias." Just fill a glass jar with the fruit (wash them thoroughly) and fill with half water and half Del Monte sugarcane vinegar or any vinegar derived from plants. Add salt to taste. Ferment it (or let it stay) for 5 days. Keep in a cool dry place in your kitchen. After 5 days, it's ready as a super dip for any fried dish--fish, meat, pork. The fruit is also now more eatable with 90 percent of its sourness diluted in the concoction. I like crushing the soft and silky fermented kamias with my tongue and getting all the subtly sourly succulence. So, what's the best thing to do with kamias? Ferment it!

Medicinal Uses

Now, the fruit and leaves have medicinal uses, too. Pound the leaves until they have the consistency of paste and apply that topically to skin irritations, mumps, acnes and pimples, rheumatic pains, pruritus, and even for the relief of cough and hypertension. Rub the paste gently on your throat for coughs and forehead for hypertension.

For fever and cold, kamias juice does wonders. If you cannot tolerate the sourness, add in wild honey. Some in Deep Asia use the leaves for venereal infections. 

More importantly, kamias is said to be anti-diabetic. Some clinical studies show that it's good as an anti-diabetic therapy. 


Because it's anti-bacterial, the fruits and leaves are good for fighting gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. So, some folks use the crushed fruits and leaves for cleaning their hands, face, and body and then washing them with water.

The fruit looks and tastes somewhat like Balimbing probably because it's a relative. Kamias is called Averrhoa Bilimbi scientifically. Anyway, whatever it looks or taste like to you, for me this is the best preparation for kamias: ferment it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bamboo Shoot Nutrition

Bamboo shoots are becoming rare in Deep Asia, particularly in Manila. The ones you see in wet markets are almost always old enough to be bamboo. It'd be very hard to digest shoots that are almost bamboo sticks, much less get bamboo shoot nutrition. If you want really young shoots you have to get them yourself from bamboo clusters, or else have a trusted market seller reserve them for you. 

Even local eateries that serve bamboo shoot dishes often serve tough shoots. So all you get to enjoy is the stew and the saluyot green veggie which seems to be its partner for life.

Bamboo shoot nutrition is said to be good for anti-aging. Old folks in the province fond of eating labong (the native name for bamboo shoot) are still able to carry a sack of rice to about 10 to 20 feet away. Labong is said to toughen the bones and knees, and old folks insist that the health benefit is a nutritional fact to them. If you want to build your bones and get a powerful bone structure, then eat labong dishes now and then. It's also supposedly for weight loss. Old folks in Deep Asia believe that it burns fats fast and turns loose skin firmer.

Bamboo Shoot Nutrition

Bamboo shoot nutrition is powerfully packed with vitamins and minerals. Just look at its vitamin arsenal: Vitamins A, C, D, E and K, with B6 and B12, plus niacin, thiamine, and folate, among others. It's got protein, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and selenium, to name a few. So shoots build as well as strengthens the body. It's almost like perfect food, a health elixir, except that it is high in sodium. So eat just enough.

Old folks also aver that labong strengthens your immune system so that you get powerfully resistant to any disease. That's the power of bamboo shoot nutrition.


And we know that when old folks say such things on health, there's more than a grain of truth in them. Often, old folks discover health benefits of food long before science does. Science only confirms.

Anyway, I had a grandpa from Bulacan who lived over a hundred and was able to carry a sackful of rice while that old allegedly because he ate fresh vegetables and labong. He saw the Spanish, American and Japanese occupation in the Philippines.

Labong or bamboo shoots can be cooked either in stew flavored with preserved fish or sauteed with coconut milk. Or, it can be wrapped in very thin flour and egg rolls and made into lumpia or rolls.

The shoots are definitely among the important herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia. That's PhilAsian herbs for your health and wellness!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ulasimang Bato Side Dish

If you're into gardening, why not be among the first to cultivate Ulasimang Bato or commonly known as Pansit-Pansitan. It's easy to grow anyway; they easily thrive on damp places like damp rocks or stone walls or floors. They grow wild and spread fast so you don't have to care much for them. When harvest time comes, you can enjoy your Ulasiman Bato side dish with your fried fish or pork.

I like its other name--Ikmo-Ikmohan. I used to create stories about an old man "Ikmo" who fell in love with a young, pretty girl. Anyway, Ulasimang Bato or Shiny Bush, when mature, grows tiny seeds on long, slender stems which easily fall off to start new sprouts. The plant looks like young mongo sprouts, standing erect though small, with both rounded leaves and white noodle-like stems shiny. Thus, it's also called Pansit-Pansitan because of its noodle-like, white stems.

How to Grow These Wild Mini Bush

It's a wild plant that likes thriving in damp areas. So, if it's wild, how do you "grow" it? Pile rocks somewhere in your garden or have a low concrete barrier constructed there where it will be naturally damp. Or, look for where Pansit-Pansitan already grows in abundance and transfer the rocks to your garden. Or, have a concrete canal constructed in your garden where clean water runs. Soon, you'd see the wild bush growing after some algae have formed. Then you'd soon enjoy your own Ulasimang Bato side dish.

Why Grow It?

Why grow it? To make sure you enjoy clean and safe Ulasimang Bato, you'd have to grow them somewhere clean. Some folks here in Deep Asia get them from vacant lots or street canals, wash them, and eat them or boil them for the medicinal brew. The problem with this is, we don't know whether the wild bush, freely exposed from the elements, is contaminated or not.

Who knows if cats or dogs urinate on them (worse, if they have been exposed to rat urine) or if some other contaminants have marred their safeness? So, look for where the bush already grows, get those rocks on which they have clung to, transfer them to your garden, and wait for the next sprouting batch to turn up and start growing that.

How Does Ulasimang Bato Taste?

Then you'd be able to harvest safe and healthy Pansit-Pansitan and enjoy your Ulasimang Bato side dish. Just wash the stems and enjoy their crunchy, succulent quality with your fried fish. They taste like steamed mongo sprouts, only sweeter. And you'd love how easily they crunch between your teeth and how the sweet juice splashes in your mouth.

Or brew it together with the leaves for a detox tea that many claim can heal kidney stone and UTI problems. You want to get rid of your gout or other similar joint inflammations? Try Ulasimang Bato tea.

Nutrition

Pansit-Pansitan is said to be high in fiber and minerals like iron, manganese, zinc. sodium, and copper. As far as phytochemicals are concerned, it has cardenolides, tannins, saponins, and alkaloids--good antioxidants. What does this mean? They can be good help for healing inflammation, cancer, fungus and also serve as an analgesic. It has other medicinal uses, but to me it's best as Ulasimang Bato side dish that should be enjoyed more often and by more people. So grow them in your garden.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Philippine Healing Herb


It's fast rising in popularity today as a Philippine healing herb. Moringa, or malungay, is also becoming a rare commodity in the market because of this. If you're sick with anything, try malungay. Either juice it, cook it, or apply it topically. 

What's the healing secret of this Philippine healing herb?

Simple. With all its super nutrition and vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, malungay can easily help repair and strengthen your immune system. It has tremendous health benefits! It's your immune system that fights off ailments. It's like organic fertilizers. These fertilizers do not feed your plants; they help plants manufacture food called L-amino acid. This is what plants eat. Malungay works like that. Its rich nutrition feeds your immune system. You immune system fights ailments and repairs and heals your cells. 

This Philippine healing herb can be cooked as a supplemental vegetable to any soup recipe you have. It's perfect as a vegetable for the Filipno Tinola dish. Or simply saute chopped ginger, garlic, and onions, add water, and boil and tenderize your chopped raw papaya in it. Later, pour in your malungay leaves and boil to cook. Then serve. This dish can help strengthen your health especially with lots of the Philippine healing herb in it. 

Or you might want to juice the raw leaves and thin stems (producing a dark green extract) and drink that. Or boil the leaves and thin stems and drink the brew or tea and eat the leaves. It's easy to prepare this Philippine healing herb for treatment purposes. 

You have a wound or open skin infection? Ground the washed-clean leaves and cover the wound with it with a clean cloth or gauze. You have skin or facial problems? Try washing with malungay juice from clean malungay leaves.

Malungay With Coffee


If you make coffee from corn or rice, mix in tiny ground bits of malungay. Or, if you drink ordinary coffee, this Philippine healing herb may neutralize the effects of caffeine. So mix in some tiny ground bits. Malungay leaves cannot be powderized as of this writing, so the best we can do is dry them and ground them into tiny bits. Or ground them first and then dry them.

I like it best as tea brew. Make sure to use more water and just enough leaves and stems to make your tea color less dark. Enjoy them daily. a small cup in the morning and another in the afternoon. It's the tea made of a Philippine healing herb without caffeine, guaranteed. Among the best herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Just Ate Fresh Herb Rolls


Fresh herb rolls! All soft and sweet! They're simply delectable... mouthwatering! Here in Deep Asia, where I live, we either fry these rolls or eat them raw. Both ways, the rolls are delicious. Fantastic! So, you can't blame me--I just ate fresh herb rolls that was supposed to be my wife's. Anyway, let's talk about fresh herb rolls first.

Fresh Herb Rolls

We call it "Sariwang Lumpia" here, or fresh rolls. I added "herbs" because they're stuffed with powerful healthy herbs. Some stuff it with young bamboo shoots we call labong, some with chopped Baguio beans or bitsuwelas, some with the edible white flesh found in the middle of a coconut tree or ubod, some use mongo bean sprout or toge. Some use all the above. Steam the herbs. They are all super nutritious! No wonder I was tempted by my wife's fresh herb rolls.

Here are some other herbs people stuff this roll with: Chopped kinchay; whole pieces of fresh, crunchy litsugas (native lettuce); chopped onion leaves; and chopped garlic. All these are rolled into a flour-and egg-based wrapper cooked like hotcakes and topped with a thick, sweet-and-spicy syrup plus a sprinkling of ground native peanuts. You eat that with rice as a meal or alone as super healthy fresh herb rolls.

Most times I love eating fresh herb rolls all by themselves. I imagine the herb nutrition goodness being squeezed in my mouth and the juices splashing round my tongue. And then I swallow all the herbal health benefits and imagine them joining in my body circulation and systems! Then I turn into Superman!


Fried Herb Rolls

Use the same ingredients above (just add some chopped tofu if you like), but this time we deep-fry the rolls in oil until brown and crunchy, preferably in canola or olive. Also, we do away with the thick, sweet-and-spicy syrup and ground peanut. Instead, we dip the fried herb rolls in a special spicy vinegar concoction that makes you bite into the roll again soon after your first. 

Here's how to do the dip concoction: Mix vinegar, chopped garlic, onions, and native red chili or siling labuyo and put in some black pepper powder, salt, and brown sugar. Add some soy sauce if you want. The moment you dip your fried herb rolls into it and taste, the world will never be the same again.

Fried herb rolls are perfect as partner for rice soup or lugaw or goto. I love eating them with rice and soup. I super love eating them as snack while watching a good DVD movie with the family. I love the crunch as you sink your teeth into the rolls, especially when the roll covering is fried-toasted like potato chips. It's the best "junk" food that's super healthy!

If you crave for crunchy and spicy snacks, opt for fried herb rolls and do away with real junk food. You can buy these herb rolls ready-cooked in local canteens or eateries or karenderia, but the roll covering is likely softened with time. Do a home cooking instead.


Better yet, you can develop your own fresh herb rolls or fried herb rolls to include your favorite fresh veggies, like super thin stripped carrots, turnips, cucumber, crunchy red or green pepper, and radish, to name a few, and even add in some strips of ripe papaya or mango. I like adding native banana or saging na saba in my fried herb rolls to give it some turon touch, the native banana roll.

Now, think about what happens if these herbs were planted right in your backyard! You just pick them super fresh from your garden, wash, and apply to the herb roll recipe! And imagine if you have a backyard organic garden! That will be an extremely healthy herb meal! And among delicious dishes with the healthiest herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia!