Spring Recipe: Tonifying Stir-fry with Astragalus Rice

Prepare your body for spring with this delicious herb meal! Pungent and sweet flavors nourish the body, invigorate the Liver, and increase the flow of Qi and Blood needed to fuel Spring’s expansive and vigorous Yang growth. Spring is the season of wind. Pungent and warm Sheng Jiang/fresh ginger and Cong Bai/scallions dispel wind and cold, preventing external invasion during the windy months ahead. The color of spring is green. In addition to their green color, fresh green beans with Dong Gu/shiitake mushrooms and burdock root support Liver Blood and the Wei-protective Qi, and in western terms encourage healthy lymphatic drainage and detoxification. Germinated or sprouted brown rice with Huang Qi/Astragalus root is a strong Spleen and Wei-protective Qi tonic. It is easily digested and assimilated, and with germination, vitamin E, lysine, magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12, are substantially increased, along with increased bio-available forms of protein and fiber. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels are increased ten-fold during the germination process, which encourages emotional and mental well-being. Combined with the extensive range of nutrients in bone broth and Huang Qi/Astragalus root, this germinated brown rice dish is an extremely nutrient-rich food. This tasty meal provides nourishment for those who are overworked and run down, for recovery from illness, or simply for maintaining good health.

INGREDIENTS:

For Pork or Chicken with Ginger and Scallions

  • 1/2 or 3/4 pound organic pork loin or chicken breast, thinly sliced to about 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (can substitute 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine/Chinese rice wine (can substitute dry sherry or Japanese saké)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ge gen/Kudzu root powder (can substitute cornstarch or rice flour)
  • 10 thin slices julienned Sheng Jiang/fresh ginger, plus one larger 1/4 inch-thick slice
  • 4 Cong Bai/scallions or green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small to medium onion, cut into 2 inch strips
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced

For Green Beans

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced, or dried Dong Gu/shiitake mushroom soaked then sliced
  • 1/2 cup burdock root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

For Brown Rice

  • 30g Huang Qi/Astragalus root
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup germinated brown rice
  • 1 cup bone broth (chicken or turkey)

PREPARATION:

For Pork or Chicken with Ginger and Scallions

  1. Mix salt, coconut sugar, ground white pepper, Shaoxing wine, tamari, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, ½ teaspoon roasted sesame oil, and Kudzu powder in a big bowl. (The Kudzu root acts to coat the marinade on the meat and keeps it tender.) Add the sliced pork or chicken, mix well and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. In the meantime, begin to prepare the green beans and brown rice.
  3. Julienne ten thin slices of ginger, plus one 1/4-inch-thick slice. Cut the scallions into 2 inch pieces, slice the onion into 2 inch strips and mince the garlic.
  4. After at least 30 minutes, take the pork or chicken out of the refrigerator. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok or cast-iron skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the 1/4-inch-thick slice of ginger. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then remove and discard the ginger.
  5. Add the pork or chicken. Spread the meat out flat with a spatula and cook without stiring until slightly browned, about 1 minute. Continue to cook while stirring regularly until nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in wok over high heat until almost smoking. Add the scallions and onions. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, another 2 minutes.
  7. Return chicken to the wok along with julienned ginger and minced garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately with green beans and brown rice.

For Green Beans

  1. Clean green beans, snap off stem ends and cut in half. Slice shiitake mushrooms, peel and slice the burdock root.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter, sesame oil, and garlic; set aside.
  3. In a medium to large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until just beginning to smoke. Add green beans, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, burdock root, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 4-8 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and green beans are a bit browned and spotty.
  4. Add 1/4 cup water; cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove lid and cook until all the water has evaporated usually less than a minute).
  5. Stir in garlic butter and cook for 1-3 minutes longer, or until green beans are crisp-tender.

For Brown Rice

  1. Soak Huang Qi/Astragalus root in water for 20 minutes. Then bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain the decocted Astragalus water. (This can be done the night before, and the decoction stored in a glass jar in the fridge.)
  2. Bring bone broth and ¾ cup Astragalus decoction to a boil, add germinated brown rice, cover and turn down to a low simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Enjoy!

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