By Mu Xi & Dan Yi
As I strolled into the yard, an earthy scent captivated my senses. Rain had just quenched the ground. The spinach in my garden looked gloriously fresh, sparkling with water droplets. I rooted the leaves gently, craving a dish that was a highlight of my childhood.
A dish of blanched spinach with ginger and chili pepper is a simple culinary treat that has made an indelible mark in my mind. As a child, I was a picky eater. My good-natured grandmother would cook this favorite dish of mine in a loving effort to get me to eat well.
Some foods resonate with us because they are deeply connected to people and places, to fond memories that we often call to mind. Now, whenever I prepare spiced spinach, I smile and think of her.
Spinach is rich in iron, which helps to combat iron-deficiency anemia. It is also rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help to regulate blood sugar. Diabetic patients should get adequate magnesium.
If you are suffering qi deficiency in the spleen and stomach, eating too much spinach may cause gas, bloating, and even constipation.
Those suffering from inflammation of the kidneys, poor kidney function, or those who have kidney stones should avoid large amounts of spinach. Since spinach contains high amounts of purines and oxalic acid, it can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Eat in moderation.
Do not eat spinach with beancurd, soybean, cucumber, milk or other calcium-rich foods. Spinach contains a high amount of vitamin C. If you eat spinach and cucumber together, the latter being a diuretic, the combination will obstruct the absorption of vitamin C. Oxalic acid binds with calcium-rich foods, potentially forming kidney stones.
6 stalks fresh spinach
1 piece fresh ginger
1/4 of a red chili pepper
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1. Cut the ginger in half. Grate one half of it and squeeze out the juice; reserve the juice.
2. Slice the red chili pepper with the other half of the ginger.
3. Add ginger juice, light soy sauce, salt, and sugar to the sliced chili pepper and ginger.
Mix the sauce well.
4. Wash and drain the spinach. Blanch in a pot of boiling water with a dash of salt for about a minute. Drain excess water and allow the spinach to cool.
5. Pour the sauce and sesame oil onto the spinach. Mix well.
6. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.