By Vicky Chan of NourishU
The primetime commercial that I have been seeing lately describes the proteins in jellyfish to be the miracle ingredient to help people fight age related cognitive decline. Normally our brain produces calcium binding proteins of its own, but as we get older, these reduce in number. This is a problem as the proteins are used in order to regulate the amount of calcium in the brain cells and this can then slow down various brain functions. The research found jelly fish to contain a lot of calcium binding proteins which improve memory. Dried jellyfish contain collagen which is helpful for the treatment of arthritis and visible signs of aging. There are beauty products now using jellyfish as one of the key ingredients. Now that with all the scientific research behind the various health claims, I am hoping that more people will come to know about jellyfish. Instead of just running out to buy the supplement, I strongly suggest you to go straight to the real food and adopt it as part of your regular diet. It will certainly make your meals more interesting and palatable.
Jellyfish is one of Asia’s most popular foods. It has certainly been our family’s favourite and we used to fight over it when we were young. Jellyfish are actually not fish because they have no fin and backbone structure as in any other fish. They are typified as free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. The bell can pulsate for locomotion, while stinging tentacles can be used to capture prey. Jellyfish are about 95% water with only about 5% of proteins. The interesting thing about jellyfish is that they are almost immortal. Any small pieces of tentacles separated from the body can grow back into full size jellyfish rapidly. The fast production of cells is ideal for humans to stay young!
Chinese medicine has been familiar with the benefits of jellyfish for centuries and has been using them for clearing heat, eliminating congestion, lubricating intestines, clearing sputum, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and for dilating blood vessels to prevent hardening of the arteries. Jellyfish is highly recommended for people who are overweight and have problems with heart health.
Jellyfish are dried before being sold because they can spoil easily after being caught. When preparing jellyfish, they are soaked in water for hours to get rid of salt and to get rehydrated. Then they are cooked by boiling in water for a few minutes which will turn them crunchy but rubbery and cause them to shrink a lot in size. They need to be soaked again in cold water for a few hours (best to keep in the fridge overnight) which will inflate and soften them. Jellyfish can then be chopped into small pieces (if not already cut) to either eat cold as an appetizer or to add to other dishes.
Jellyfish as an appetizer or in a salad is very popular in Chinese cuisine and banquets. They are actually very easy to make. You just need to season the jellyfish with a little vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. You can serve it as is, or serve with some fermented vegetables such as cucumber and sprinkle a little roasted sesame seeds on top. Adding jellyfish to a stir-fry at the very last minute will add crunchiness and authenticity to any dish. Please search our website, NourishU for other recipes using jellyfish for many therapeutic benefits.
The following is a delightful jellyfish salad recipe which is my personal favourite for the summer months. I hope you and your family will enjoy it as much as I do. Bon appétit!
Water Chestnut and Jellyfish Salad
Cough with phlegm
Clear cough with phlegm and detoxify lungs.
- Water chestnut 馬蹄 – 10
- Dried Jellyfish 海蜇 – 160gm
- Celery 西芹 – 100gm
- Soy sauce 生抽
- Sesame oil 麻油
- Sesame seeds
- Soak jellyfish until soft, rinse clean and shred thinly (if it has not been cut). Put jelly fish in boiling water to cook for a few minutes. Remove and rinse and put in cold water (keep covered and inside the fridge) to soak for a couple of hours until becoming soft again. Put in strainer to drain away water.
- Peel water chestnut and shred thinly.
- Wash and peel celery and shred thinly.
- Put all three ingredients in a bowl and mix in soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Put ingredients to plate and sprinkle in sesame seeds on top to serve.