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A modern take on energy-boosting food

Beat heat-induced slumps with these vitality-filled recipes

Aug 06,2014
Clockwise from left: Skewered chicken, stuffed tomato salad and quinoa with potatoes.
If sticky sleepless nights are leaving you feeling burnt out, it’s a sign you’re in need of an energy booster, be it a bowl of refreshing samgyetang (chicken soup with ginseng) or some invigorating charcoal-grilled eel.

Since most traditional pick-me-up summer dishes are served hot, energy foods - which are generally high in protein and calories - can cause you to start sweating by the time you finish your meal.

Because of this, younger people tend to choose simpler recipes or eat seasonal fruits and vegetables in salads.

Kim Yun-mi, a 33-year-old homemaker, eats three to four black tomatoes everyday. The black version tends to be chewier and tastier than the average tomato.

“As far as I know, these tomatoes contain higher percentages of antioxidants,” said Kim.

“I put them in salads or blend them to make juice for my husband and kids.”

Meanwhile, Seo Sang-hee, a 29-year-old office worker, goes to a French restaurant in her neighborhood of Yeonhui-dong, western Seoul, for meals that include energizing ingredients such as eel, chicken and raw ginseng with a twist.

“Sometimes I feel like eating something that’s good and healthy, but traditional invigorating food is too much for me,” said Seo.

“Then I go to the French restaurant near my place. It has pasta made with raw ginseng and chicken, which makes me feel like I’m eating samgyetang.”

Another option is to cook some stimulating dishes yourself.

Food stylist May, who operates her own cooking studio, May’s Table in Buam-dong, Jongno, says anyone can create summertime energy-boosting food by following simple recipes.

For example, you can make a healthier version of rice just by substituting it with quinoa, a grain grown in South American countries such as Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Quinoa is easily found at big-box chain stores such as E-Mart and Lotte Mart these days.

“Quinoa is often dubbed a super grain because it is high in protein,” said May.

By using quinoa as a main ingredient and adding seasonal vegetables such as potatoes, eggplants and cucumbers, it can make a decent meal, according to May.

Of the many ingredients used in summertime energy foods, the most common ingredients are chicken and eel, but May recommends using chicken because it is much easier to handle.

Tofu is also highly recommended for those who are conscious about diet. Tofu jeon, a type of savory Korean pancake, is one delicious way to consume the healthy ingredient.

In order to make tofu jeon, mash tofu and prepare the other ingredients. You will need a little bit of flour, chopped vegetables and egg. Mix everything well with the mashed tofu and the batter should be thick enough to fry in a pan.

Fry the batter until it turns light brown.

“The easiest way to make summer energy boosters is to use seasonal fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, blueberries and put them into salads or desserts,” added May.

With malbok, the final day of the traditional summer heat period, falling tomorrow, here is a list of simpler recipes to help you prepare invigorating food.

BY HAN JIN [so@joongang.co.kr]



Quinoa with potatoes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of quinoa, 3 potatoes, 1 1/3 eggplants, 1 1/3 cucumbers, 1 teaspoon of salt, a pinch of black pepper



1. Rinse the quinoa well, cover the grain with one cup of water and boil it on high heat.

2. When the water begins to bubble, take the heat down from high to low and boil the quinoa until the water evaporates completely. Turn the heat off when the quinoa is fully cooked.

3. Steam the potatoes and cut them into bite-size pieces.

4. Slice the cucumbers and eggplants into thin strips and fry them with a dash of cooking oil. Add salt and pepper when cooked.

5. Serve the quinoa with the potatoes, cucumber and eggplant pieces.



Stuffed tomato salad

Ingredients:

2 abalones, 6 small tomatoes, a small amount of green beans

Dressing:

1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of rice liquor, 1/3 of a teaspoon of soy

sauce (for cooking soups and stews), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 140 grams of pre-processed tofu that can be eaten raw



1. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and separate the flesh from inside.

2. Blanch the green beans.

3. Preheat the oven to 60 degrees Celsius.

4. While the oven is preheating, clean the abalones and scoop the flesh out of the shells. Cook the flesh with a 1/4 cup of rice liquor in the oven for about 10 minutes.

5. Mix the seasoning ingredients, including the tofu, in a blender.

6. Stuff the tomatoes with the cooked abalones and blanched green beans.

7. Coat with a dressing and eat.



Skewered chicken

Ingredients:

200 grams of chicken, 1 raw ginseng, 6 gingko nuts, 3 wrinkled green peppers, 1/2 an onion, 3 garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Seasoning:

3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice liquor, 1 tablespoon of honey and a pinch of black pepper



1. Cut chicken and vegetables into bite-size pieces.

2. Skewer the chicken and vegetables.

3. Pour the oil into the pan and fry the skewers until the ingredients turn brown.

4.Mix the seasoning ingredients and coat the skewers









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