Steamed Pumpkin with Lily Bulbs and Red Dates
Did you know that the pumpkin is a great beauty food? It is rich in beta-carotenes and antioxidants that protects our skin and prevents pre-mature aging. It contains potent alpha hydroxy acids, a natural fruit acid that helps clear off old skin cells to reveal a radiant complexion, plus vitamin A, which helps increase the rate of cell renewal to present younger-looking with softer skin. It is rich in essential fatty acids, hence eating pumpkin is an effective way to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It’s loaded with vitamin C, which has been proved to stimulate collagen production and prevent the collapse of elastin. Pumpkins are also packed with sodium hyaluronate to hydrate for plump and chubby skin.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Pumpkin is known for its ability to tonify Qi. It also helps to regulate blood circulation, expel cold, resolve dampness, and resolve phlegm. It is classified as warm and sweet. Sweet foods generally slow down acute reactions and neutralize the toxic effects of other foods, and also lubricate and nourish the body and affects the stomach and spleen. It helps improve digestion and improves appetite especially when recovering from illness or colds.
Lily Bulbs contain a variety of substances that can promote health and well-being. In addition to proteins and starches, lily bulbs have small amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B2 and C.
According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lily bulbs have sweet and slightly cold properties, they belong to the ‘Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency’ and are associated with the Lung and Heart meridians. Having cold properties means that lily bulbs typically help people who have too much "heat" in their body. Depending on your condition, lily bulbs can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
The "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like lily bulbs & pumpkin tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood. Lily bulbs are thought to target the Heart and the Lung. In addition to regulating blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the body fluids that nourish the body.
Lily bulbs are commonly used to relieve coughs, dry throats and other respiratory conditions, to clear away heat, and to treat insomnia and heart palpitations. Its tonic properties make it a good herb for promoting restful sleep and treating restlessness and irritability.
Fresh lily bulbs can usually be found in the chilled section of vegetables in supermarkets or wet markets in Singapore.
This dessert is great to nourish our lungs and is a great skin food. If you are feeling a little heaty, with dry throat or cough or dry skin. This dessert can help to nourish our lungs to replenish the Yin, dispel heat and phlegm and improve blood circulation and promotes restful sleep. Any food that moistens or nourishes our lungs will also nourish our skin and help to moisturize our skin from within.
Ingredients,材料 (Serves 1-2):
Pumpkin half ; 南瓜半个
Fresh Lily Bulbs 2 ; 百合2个
Red Dates 8 pcs; 红枣8个
Honey / Rock Sugar 1 tsp ; 蜂蜜或冰糖1勺
This is how the fresh lily bulb looks like when just bought from the market- covered in saw dust. Rinse off the saw dust and peel the leaves and wash clean. Then it looks like below picture - white succulent leaves.
Washed lily bulb and red dates and pumpkin makes a great skin food.
Cut the Pumpkin into half and using a knife, cut some slits across.
Wash the lily bulbs and separate the leaves.
Wash the red dates and soak for 10mins.
Put the red dates and lily bulbs into the pumpkin cavity and put into a bowl used for steaming. If using rock sugar, add in the rock sugar to steam together.
Put into a steamer and steam for 30mins or till the pumpkin is cooked and soft. You can cover the bowl or pumpkin with plastic wrap to prevent excess water from going into the pumpkin.
Drizzle the honey on top before serving.
You can cover the bowl or pumpkin with plastic wrap to prevent excess water from going into the pumpkin that makes it mushy.
Choose an ‘older’ or more ripe pumpkin for more sweetness.
If you prefer a soupy version, you can add water and boil everything together instead of steaming.