Tag Archives: Asian cuisine

Zanthoxylum bungeanum

Botanical Name : Zanthoxylum bungeanum
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Rutoideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Species: Zanthoxylum bungeanum

Common Names: Szechuan Peppercorn

Habitat:Zanthoxylum bungeanum is native to E. Asia – China. It grows on waysides and thickets to 2000 metres in W. China.

Description:
Zanthoxylum bungeanum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is not a true peppercorn, but rather the dried berry/seed of a deciduous prickly ash tree. The 3-4 mm berry has a rough reddish brown shell that is split open and a black seed inside. The black seed is bitter and can be discarded. The red shell can be added whole to stewed dishes or ground to a powder and used a seasoning. The spice has a unique aroma and flavor that is not as pungent as black pepper and has slight lemony overtones.
Szechuan peppercorns are one of the five spices in Chinese five-spice powder. Called sansho in Japan, they are used in the spice mixture shichimi togarashi, or Japanese seven-spice seasoning.
Cultivation:
It is said to be often cultivated for its edible fruit, especially in hot dry river valleys in China. There is some doubt over the correct name for this species, it might be no more than a synonym of Z. simulans. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Seed – used as a condiment, a pepper substitute. Highly prized. The fruit is rather small but is produced in clusters which makes harvesting easy. Each fruit contains a single seed.
Medicinal Uses:

Anaesthetic; Anthelmintic; Aromatic; Astringent; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Stimulant; Vasodilator; Vermifuge.

The fruit is anaesthetic, anthelmintic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant, sudorific, vasodilator and vermifuge. It is pulverised then mixed with water for internal application in the treatment of chills and pains in the abdomen, vomiting, cold-damp diarrhoea and dysentery, ascariasis-caused abdominal pain and moist sores on the skin. The pericarp is anaesthetic, anthelmintic, antibacterial and antifungal. It is effective against the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium, and is also used in the treatment of gastralgia, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, ascariasis and dermal diseases. The pericarp contains geraniol. This lowers the blood pressure, is mildly diuretic in small doses but in large doses inhibits the excretion of urine, and also increases peristalsis of the abdomen at low doses though inhibits it at large doses

Known Hazards : The plant is toxic. No more details.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum_bungeanum
http://florawww.eeb.uconn.edu/198501352.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+bungeanum

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Echium vulgare

Botanical Name: Echium vulgare
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Echium
Species: E. vulgare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Boraginales

Synonym: Blueweed.

Common Names : Viper’s Bugloss or Blueweed, Common viper’s bugloss

Habitat: Echium vulgare is native to southern and western Europe and Western Asia. It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in parts of the continent, being listed as an invasive species in Washington. It grows in calcareous and light dry soils, especially on cliffs near the sea is also found on walls, old quarries and gravel pits.
Description:
Echium vulgare is a biennial or monocarpic perennial plant growing to 30–80 cm (12–31 in) tall, with rough, hairy, lanceolate leaves. The flowers start pink and turn vivid blue and are 15–20 mm (0.59–0.79 in) in a branched spike, with all the stamens protruding. The pollen is blue but the filaments of the stamens remain red, contrasting against the blue flowers. It flo wers between May and September. It is found in dry, bare and waste places…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: Succeeds in any good garden soil but flowers best when the soil is not too rich. Requires a sunny position. The plant is very deep rooted. A good bee plant.

Propagation: : Seed sow February-May or August-November in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 3 weeks at 15°c. If the seed is in short supply then it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked. They can be used as a spinach substitute. Mild and mucilaginous. Although somewhat hairy, when chopped up finely they are an acceptable part of a mixed salad. Eating the leaves is said to stimulate sexual desire. Use with caution, there is an unconfirmed report of toxicity.

Part Used in medicine: The whole Herb.

Medicinal Uses:
Antitussive; Aphrodisiac; Demulcent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emollient; Pectoral; Vulnerary.

Viper’s bugloss was once considered to be a preventative and remedy for viper bites. It is related to borage, Borago officinalis, and has many similar actions, especially in its sweat-inducing and diuretic effects. In recent times, however, it has fallen out of use, partly due to lack of interest in its medicinal potential and partly to its content of pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic in isolation. The leaves and flowering stems are antitussive, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and vulnerary. An infusion of the plant is taken internally as a diuretic and in the treatment of fevers, headaches, chest conditions etc. The juice of the plant is an effective emollient for reddened and delicate skins, it is used as a poultice or plaster to treat boils and carbuncles. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. The roots contain the healing agent allantoin. The plant is said to be efficacious in the treatment of snake bites. When chopped up finely, the fresh flowering heads can be made into a poultice for treating whitlows and boils.
Known Hazards: The leaves are poisonous. No cases of poisoning have ever been recorded for this plant. The bristly hairs on the leaves and stems can cause severe dermatitis.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echium_vulgare
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bugvip85.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Echium+vulgare

Agar-Agar

Botanical Name: Gelidium amansii
Family:    Gelidiaceae
Genus:    Gelidium
Species:    G. amansii
Kingdom:    Archaeplastida
Phylum:    Rhodophyta
Class:    Florideophyceae
Order:    Gelidiales

Synonyms:   Japanese Isinglass.

Common names:   Agar-Agar,
Japansche scheleiachtige mos, Steen-or klipbloem, Hay tsay, Olus marinus, Sajur laut, Tschintschau, Tschoo-hoae (Madlener 1977).

Chinese: Niu mau tsai (Madlener 1977).

Japanese: Tengusa, Makusa, Genso (Madlener 1977), Kanten (Rhoads & Zunic 1978), Oyakusa (Chapman & Chapman 1980).

Common names used in commerce, often for edible algae:  Shie hua ts’ai {China}; Shima-ten-gusa {Jap}

Habitat :  Gelidium amansii grows  in  Japan, China, India,Indonesia,Taiwan,  Ceylon and Macassar.

Description:
A genus of about 20 species of red seaweeds, found mainly in waters off Japan, Spain, Portugal, W Scotland, Ireland, N, S, and W Africa, Madagascar, California, and Chile. They are collected with rakes from boats or by divers from deep water, and are now cultivated by the Japanese on poles in coastal waters. Gelidium amansii is a source of agar or Kanten, a collodial extract used in similar ways to gelatin. The earliers observations of the properties of G. amansii (tengusa) are attributed to a Japanese innkeeper, Minoya Tarozaemon, in 1660, though seaweed gels have been eaten in Japan for over 1,200 years. Its use as agar, a culture medium for bacteria, was developed in the 1880s by Robert Koch, who thereby discovered the organisms that cause tuberculosis. Some 30 species of algae, belonging to about ten different genera, are used worldwide for agar production; the main ones are G. amansii (Japan), G. cartilagineum (USA), Gracilaria verrucosa (Australia), and Pterocladia pinnata (New Zealand). The 20th century saw demand for Gelidium increase in many areas, including medicine, dentistry, forensic science, and the food industry. It is prepared as strips of solidified mucilaginous extract, which gels at 32°C (90°F) and melts at 85°C (185°F). The high melting point makes agar useful in food that might otherwise melt in warm temperatures. In addition, its constituents are non-toxic and not absorbed from the gut.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Perennial, tuft-forming seaweed, with pinnately branched, rigid, cartilaginous fronds, divided into thread-like segments. Found in intertidal and subtidal zones around China, Japan, Korea, and Pacific coasts of Russia. Width 10-30cm (4-12in).

A seaweed gathered on the East Indian coast and sent to China, it is derived from the various species of Sphaerococcus Euchema and Gelidium. It is brownish-white in colour with thorny projections on its branches; the best variety, known as Japanese Isinglass, contains large quantities of mucilage. The seaweed after collection is spread out on the shore until bleached, and then dried; it is afterwards boiled in water and the mucilaginous solution strained, the filtrate being allowed to harden, and then it is dried in the sun. The time for collection of the Algae is summer and autumn when the bleaching and drying can take place, but the final preparation of Agar-Agar is carried out in winter from November to February. The Japanese variety is derived from several kinds of Algae and comes into European commerce in two forms: (1) In transparent pieces 2 feet long, the thickness of a straw, prepared in Singapore by treating it in hot water. (2) In yellowish white masses about 1 inch wide and 1 foot long. The latter is the form considered the more suitable for the culture of bacteria.

Edible Uses:  Powdered or flaked agar is used to set jellies. Kanten is a popular food in Japan, made into a firm jelly or into tokoroten (noodles).

Constituents:  Agar-Agar contains glose, which is a powerful gelatinizing agent. It is precipitated from solution by alcohol. Glose is a carbohydrate. Acetic, hydrochloric and oxalic acids prevent gelatinization of Agar-Agar.

Properties:  A nutritive, almost tasteless, gelatinous herb that acts as a bulk laxative.

Medicinal Uses:
Agar-Agar is widely used as a treatment for constipation, but is usually employed with Cascara when atony of the intestinal muscles is present. It does not increase peristaltic action. Its therapeutic value depends on the ability of the dry Agar to absorb and retain moisture. Its action is mechanical and analogous to that of the cellulose of vegetable foods, aiding the regularity of the bowel movements.

Other Uses:   Used in invalid foods, and as a gelling and stabilizing agent in canned meats, ice cream, sauces, deserts, and dairy products.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.algaebase.org/search/species/detail/?species_id=1830
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/agara012.html
http://www.prcupcc.com/herbs/herbsa/agaragar.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelidium_amansii

Coccinia cordifolia(Bengali :Kundri)

Botanical Name: Coccinia cordifolia
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Coccinia
Species: C. grandis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Synonyms: Coccinia grandis, Cephalandra indica and Coccinia indica

Common Names:Ivy gourd,Baby watermelon,Little gourd, Gentleman’s toes, Tindora, Ivy gourd,Gentleman’s toes  and Gherkin,
Bengali Name :Kundri or Tela kochu
Sanskrit Name: Bimbi, Uthundika, Bimbitika, Rakthaphala, Ostopamphala, Pilulparni.
English Name:Ivy gourd
Kannada Name:Tonde
Hindi Name: Kanduri, Kulari, Kundru

Habitat : Coccinia cordifolia is native to Tropical Asia To Africa.It grows on light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Description:
Coccinia cordifolia is a large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub. The stems are rather succulent with long filiform fleshy aerial roots from the branches. The bark is grey-brown and warty; the leaves are membranous and cordate; the flowers, small, yellow or greenish yellow, in axillary and terminal racemes or racemose panicles; the male flowers clustered and females usually solitary; the drupes are ovoid, glossy, succulent, red and pea-sized; the seeds curved. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
In India it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with spices; stuffing it with masala and sauteing it, or boiling it first in a pressure cooker and then frying it. It is also used in sambar, a vegetable and lentil-based soup.

There are a variety of recipes from all over the world that list ivy gourd as the main ingredient. It is often compared to bitter melon. The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine. People of Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. In Thai cuisine it is one of the ingredients of the Kaeng khae curry. Cultivation of ivy gourd in home gardens has been encouraged in Thailand due to it being a good source of several micronutrients, including vitamins A and C.

Constituents:
Tinsporine, tinosporide, tinosporaside, cordifolide, cordifol, heptacosanol, clerodane furano diterpene, diterpenoid furanolactone tinosporidine, columbin, and ß-sitosterol.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell stabilizing, anti-anaphylactic and antihistaminic potential.  In Bangladesh, the roots are used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain. A paste made of leaves is applied to the skin to treat scabies.

Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. It is claimed that these products help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some research to support that compounds in the plant inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase. Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, ivy gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, there currently is a fair amount of research focused on the medicinal properties of this plant focusing on its use as an antioxidant, anti-hypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia like Thailand prepare traditional tonic like drinks for medicinal purposes.

The leaves are rubbed on skin diseases  like  eximas,sorasis  etc  to get releaf.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccinia_grandis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Coccinia+grandis
http://parisaramahiti.kar.nic.in/Medicinal_plants_new/med%20plants/p62.html

Garlic Chives (Alum Tuberosum)

Botanical Name: Allium tuberosum
Family: Alliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Allium
Species: A. tuberosum, A. ramosum
Common Name: Garlic Chives
Other Common Names: Chinese Chive, Chinese Chives, Chinese Leek, Chiu, Feng Pen, Garlic Chives, Nira, Oriental Garlic Chives

Habitat:Cultivated Beds.According to official records,  it is often cultivated as a garden plant. This is surprising, considering its aggressive nature. However, the webmaster has observed clumps of naturalized plants that were growing in 3 different locations in the Champaign-Urbana area in Champaign County, Illinois . Garlic Chives has naturalized in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska, and it seems likely that this plant has naturalized in other counties of Illinois as well. It is native to China and parts of SE Asia. So far, habitats in Illinois include a degraded meadow in a wooded area, the bank of a drainage ditch, and the edge of a yard along a sidewalk. Several clumps of Garlic Chives have persisted in the meadow for several years.

Description:
Plant Type: Perennial
Where To Plant: Full Sun to Partly Shady
Soil Types: Average
Germination: Easy
Uses: Culinary
Notes: Good pot plant, can grow in windows, good in cooking.
ALLIUM TUBEROSUM.  Has the same great garlic flavor as the previous form but features attractive mauve flowers. The most delicate member of the onion family. Chopped leaves offer great improvement to salads, soups, vegetables, omelet’s, and cheese dishes. Essential kitchen herb! Palatable as it is to humans, nasty insects stay away in droves from it and neighboring plants....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

. The plant has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves  unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. Besides its use as vegetable, it also has attractive flowers

The cultivated form is Allium tuberosum while the wild form is placed as A. ramosum. Older references list it as A. odorum but that is now considered a synonym of A. ramosum. Some botanists would place both wild and cultivated forms in A. ramosum since many intermediate forms exist.

A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavor of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork. They are a common ingredient in Chinese jiaozi dumplings and the Japanese and Korean equivalents. The flowers may also be used as a spice. In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a soup of broth and sliced pork kidneys.

Many garden centers carry it as do most Asian supermarkets.

A Chinese flatbread similar to the green onion pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions; such a pancake is called a jiucai bing  or jiucai you bing . Chives is also one of the main ingredient used with Yi mein dishes.

Garlic chives are widely used in Korean cuisine, most notably in dishes such as buchukimchi ( garlic chive kimchi), buchujeon (garlic chive pancakes), or jaecheopguk (a guk, or clear soup, made with garlic chives and Asian clams).

Other Uses:
The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Cardiac; Digestive; Stomachic; Tonic.

The whole plant is antibacterial, cardiac, depurative, digestive, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is an anti-emetic herb that improves kidney function[238]. It is used internally to treat urinary incontinence, kidney and bladder weaknesses etc.

The seed is carminative and stomachic. They are used in India in the treatment of spermatorrhoea.

The leaves and the bulbs are applied to bites, cuts and wounds
In Chinese herbal medicine, garlic chives have been used to treat fatigue, control excessive bleeding, and as an antidote for ingested poisons. The leaves and bulbs are applied to insect bites, cuts, and wounds, while the seeds are used to treat kidney, liver, and digestive system problems.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Resources:

http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/chives_garlic.html
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/alltuberosum.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic_chives
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Allium+tuberosum
http://www.eol.org/pages/1085072