Chinese Medicated Cuisines

Chinese medicated cuisines come from traditional Chinese diets and diet therapy. It is a cuisine made from the combination of traditional Chinese medicine and food with medical value. The cuisine is cooked with unique Chinese fine cooking techniques and modern scientific methods.

Unlike traditional Chinese medicine and a normal diet, medicated cuisines not only enable people to enjoy delicious food but help with nourishment and treating illnesses. It is said the production and application of traditional medicated cuisines is both a science and an art. 

Act according to circumstances

“Act according to circumstances” means one should take into consideration the patient’s habits, health status, symptoms, time of season and geographic characteristics when using medicated cuisines to treat illnesses. After determining the illness type, one can conduct appropriate diet therapy based on the corresponding principles.

Combine prevention and treatment

Medicated cuisines not only treat illnesses but prevent illnesses as well. They play a prominent role in treating and preventing illnesses. For example, if children have “eight delicious food” for 30 days that is composed of eight kinds of edible traditional Chinese medicine including yam, lotus seed and hawthorn, 97 percent of them will have an increased appetite and grow faster. 

Delicious medicine easy to take

It is often said good medicine tastes bitter because most traditional Chinese medicine tastes bitter. Some people, in particular children, refuse to take medicine because of its bitterness. However, medicated cuisines are known for their flavor of food. Medicated cuisines can also be made through careful choice of medicine, mix of medicine and food and advanced cooking techniques. Therefore, delicious medicated cuisines are indeed easy to take.

Role of medicated cuisine

Treat illnesses

Some illnesses can be treated by medicated cuisines. For example, cinnamon twig decoction is used to treat mild colds due to exogenous attack and malnutrition. In addition, when people are rendered at any stage of an illness, they can also have medicated cuisines to cure their illness. 

Keep healthy

A number of medicated cuisines have been widely used to stay healthy. Today, there are many kinds of health foods in markets which are mainly composed of nutritious diets and medicated cuisines with multiple health care functions. Among them, the most widely used are ginseng, Chinese caterpillar fungus, yam, Tuckahoe, licorice, Chinese angelica and fleece-flower root. These nutritious foods and medicated cuisines are unique Chinese specialties.

Diversify people’s daily diet

Delicious cuisines with medical value are very popular among people. Since medicated cuisines boast Eastern features and food culture, they can be used on many occasions including at home, when receiving guests and travelling. Medicated cuisines have a positive and far-reaching effect on enriching health food, improving cooking, beautifying peoples’ daily lives and promoting Chinese food culture. 

Production of medicated cuisines

Cooking principles

Medicine and food both have four characters (cold, hot, warm and cool) and five tastes (sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty). When cooking medicated cuisines, one should realize “four characters” are the foundation of medicine and food, and “five tastes” are functions of people’s body. Good taste should also be taken into account when making medicated cuisines.

Ingredients

Almost all food ingredients can be used to cook medicated cuisines. In addition, some medicine is needed. No matter what kind of medicated cuisine it is, condiments must be used including ginger, garlic, pepper, vinegar, sugar, balm and scallion. 

Cooking ways

The most common ways to cook medicated cuisines are stewing, braising, simmering, steaming, boiling, decocting, scrambling and frying. Different ways are used to cook according to the texture and flavor of ingredients. For mild and fragrant ingredients, it is better to be cooked for a short time; while those heavy-flavored and greasy ingredients are better to be stewed, simmered or steamed for a long time. 

Famous medicated cuisines

Spicy chicken with chili sauce

Ingredients: chicken wrist, chicken liver, the fruit of Chinese wolfberry, lettuce slices, soy sauce, mature vinegar, fine salt, white sugar, scallion, ginger, pepper, balm and aginomoto.

Characteristics: it is light brown and tastes fragrant, spicy, delicious and tender.

Effect: this medicated cuisine can enrich the blood and build one’s body. The salty chicken liver is not only rich in nutrition but also provides ingredients to create blood. It is beneficial for blood, liver and eyes; the sweet chicken gizzard is good for one’s spleen and stomach. 

Salt-baked tofu with eight kinds of traditional Chinese medicine

Ingredients: yam, sea cucumber, fresh mushroom, green bamboo shoots, ginkgo, green beans, crab, cashew and tofu. 

Characteristics: it is bright and tastes delicious. Moreover, it is one of the most popular household medicated cuisines.

Effect: with yam as the main medicine, this medicated cuisine can enahnce both qi and yin. Meanwhile, with the addition of fresh mushroom and ginkgo is good for one’s stomach. 

Yam peach posing wintersweet

Ingredients: yam, white sugar, ginkgo flesh, sugar sweet-scented osmanthus, sweet jujube paste, water starch, red and green candied fruit and lard. Characteristics: this medicated cuisine looks like real peaches with a magnificent posture of “wintersweet”. It tastes soft and delicious.

Effect: the Chinese yam is good for the spleen and ginkgo is good for the lungs. This cuisine is very beneficiary for those who have suffered from cold for a long time. It can also improve digestion if healthy people have this cuisine.

Chicken steamed with gastrodia elata

Ingredients: hen, gastrodia elata, pepper, ham, rice wine, mushroom, scallion, winter bamboo shoots, ginger, chicken consommé, aginomoto and fine salt.

Characteristics: this cuisine tastes salty and delicious. With chicken and gastrodia elata steamed together, the broth boasts plant fragrance and mellow chicken soup. It is very popular among people.

Effect: Containing vitamin A and trace alkaloids, this medicated cuisine is very nutritious and particularly helpful for extinguishing liver-wind and relieving spasms and pain. 

Chufa cake like a snowflake

Ingredients: pared chufa, white sugar, egg white, lard and the fruit of Chinese wolfberry.

Characteristics: this cuisine is white and looks like snowflakes. With the fruit of Chinese wolfberry decorated among them, it appears very beautiful. This sweet cuisine tastes tender like tofu and is suited for both the old and the young.