Spring is the time of growth and renewal. Our diet during this time should be simple, light and contain plenty of young plants, fresh greens and sprouts. In the spring, food is best cooked for a shorter time but at higher temperatures. That way, we preserve more nutrients. Small amounts of raw foods are recommended especially for individuals with warm constitution and during periods of intense physical activity. Large amounts of raw foods can weaken digestive fire so individuals with cold constitution and weak digestion should be cautious.
Last night I had an honor to do a spring cooking demonstration at the Chinese Garden for the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine open house. Below are the yummy recipes that I prepared. They are incredibly easy to make and the crowd just loved them. I encourage you to try them at home.
Spring Vegetable Stir Fry
Eating plenty of fresh, young vegetables in spring is a good way to cleanse the body after the dark days of winter. Asparagus is bitter and warm to re-stimulate the digestion, while the spring onions are also therapeutic – helping to disperse cold, strengthen Qi and warm the stomach. Early springs of mint and the first chives from the garden will add to the flavor – and help provide warming, yang herbs as the weather starts to change.
2 tablespoons olive oil
12oz asparagus, cut into 2in pieces
12oz snow peas
bunch of spring onions, chopped
tamari or soy sauce to taste
1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Fresh mint springs to garnish
Heat a wok, then add oil and stir fry the asparagus and snow peas for 2 minutes. Add spring onions.
Remove the wok from heat, add vinegar, chopped mint, chives and toss to mix. Garnish with mint.
Mung Bean Sprouts Stir-Fry
Serves 2 – 4
1 cup (about 2 ounces) mung bean sprouts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt to taste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
few drops of sesame oil
cilantro for garnish
Wash and drain the bean sprouts, trimming the ends if desired.
Add oil to a heated wok or heavy skillet. When oil is ready, add the bean sprouts and stir-fry briefly. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Stir-fry another few seconds and add the sesame oil. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.