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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nagaimo Soy Pudding : 山药豆乳布丁

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When I was in Taiwan a few weeks ago, my favourite cold appetizer dish at meal time was the Nagaimo. (山药/淮山) Prepared and served in a variety of ways, they were crunchy and totally refreshing. Long known for its medicinal values, the Chinese have always used them to balance the yin and yang energy in the body. It has been used to treat digestive, repiratory and diabetes problems ... in short, this is  a healthy root vegetable and is often featured in macrobiotics diet.

I have not exactly been a big fan of this root until recently. I recall my first encounter with it was at a Japanese restaurant almost 20 years ago. My Japanese boss had ordered a Chirashi Sushi topped with a white gooey blob- the musilaginous consistency of which was not appetising at all. Then many years later, my Taiwanese colleague invited me to his house for dinner. His wife prepared a bland looking porridge with sliced Nagaimo-it was dull and tasteless. I recall her raving about the nutritious value of the root but I was not quite impressed.

When I was in Taiwan a few weeks back, the Nagaimo was in season and we practically had it for every meal as a cold starter. Usually prepared simply by chilling the cut roots, they were served like a salad drizzled with a fruity, tangy plum sauce. With a pear like crunch, it was absolutely delicious. This time round, I became truly hooked. When I got back, I started to look for recipes that feature the Nagaimo. I found a couple in my Japanese cookbook (Delicious Macrobiotic Meals) and I couldn't wait to experiment with them.
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The first recipe I have chosen to work on is a dessert dish where the Nagaimo is grated and cooked with soy milk and agar powder. Very low in calorie, this dense, mousse-like dessert is delicious when eaten with a drizzle of maple syrup. 0% guilt and 100% goodness - I have just found a new favourite addition to my diet plan!
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Recipe :

Nagaimo                 50g
Powder agar           1 tsp
Soy Milk                1/2 cup
Maple syrup           To serve

Method :
1. Peel the skin of nagaimo. (Wear gloves as you do this as the sap on the skin will cause skin irritation) Wrap peeled nagaimo in plastic wrap and microwave for 3-4 mins.
2. Mash (1) while still hot with a fork.
3. In a saucepan, add (2), soy milk and powder agar. Cook over low heat until mixture is smooth and thickened.
4. Pour (4) into molds and chill in refrigerator until set.
5. Demold and serve with maple syrup.

30 comments:

edith said...

Shirley, is this known as Burddock? I love pudding and this one definitely am game to try.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

Nagaimo in jelly. Interesting.
When my SIL's mom cooked this in a a stir fry, it was delicious, but when I cooked it myself, I just can't get rid of the slime. Never cooked it since, but then again, maybe I should give it another chance.
IMPO, 1 tsp powdered agar to 1/2 cup soy is pretty firm for me. But if it's a jelly that's supposed to be eaten with a fork or toothpick, then it's fine.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Edith: No this is not Burddock. Burddock is slimmer and more firous. This is thicker and usually some wet markets store them in a box filled with something that looks like saw dust.

Wendy : I think you will need to blanche it water first to get rid of the slimy mucous. And yes, this is a very firm jelly. I guess you can still adjust the degree of firmness to your liking. I just followed the recipe as it is for this first attempt.

Jeannie said...

Never heard of Nagaimo before, I am that ignorant:P Whatever it is, it makes your pudding looks real deliclious!

edith said...

Mmmm i wonder whether supermkt has them. Really keen to attempt this esp when yrs looks really yummy.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Edith- these are definitely available at supermarket- try Fairprice Finest

Mei Teng said...

I like desserts with soy milk or made from soy milk.

Von said...

I've never heard of nagaimo either....but now I'm interested! isn't it funny how you can suddenly develop a like for some food after having it in a nice dish? :D Your pudding looks so smooth!! Out of curiosity, is that fork just for photo purposes, or do you actually eat it with that fork??

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@Von : :) That is actually a real fork which I got from Korea. It is meant for traditional Korean snacks/cakes, I suppose.

travellingfoodies said...

edith, if you are into Cantonese 煲汤, then you might be more familiar with 山药 in its dried form as long chalky white strips called dioscorea. Goes really well with goji, honey dates and some red dates with just pork ribs.

shirley, this looks positively delicious! I'd seen a recipe which incorporates dioscorea into pau, which supposedly prevents the buns from hardening after steaming. looking forward to more nagaimo recipes from you. :)

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

I like to make dessert using soy milk, thanks for another great idea to use soy milk, and it sound really good.

La Table De Nana said...

Shirley..such pretty pretty shots..

Jean said...

the dessert looks dainty and beautiful! it looks much more complicated to prepare than it really is :D

daphne said...

That's the wonderful thing about blogs. We learn new things all the time. While I have not heard of nagaimo, this post made me intrigued!

Андрей said...

heh..its so dificult to prepare something like this! thank you suthor, hope this link букмекеры wouldn't be useless for you.

T and Tea Cake said...

This really looks smooth and delicous. And I love that it is vegan.

Just wondering, does the nagaimo add any aspect of flavour to the dish, or is it rather a healthy 'filler'?

Cheers,
Tobias

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@TandTeaCake: The Nagaimo has a mild sweetness not overpowering at all. Hope you will be able to give this a try :)

T and Tea Cake said...

Shirley, I hope so, too. Nagaimo really seems to be versatile. I have never had it before and all I can do is hope that my go-to 'asian' supermarket has them in stock occasionally. :)

noobcook said...

never tried nagaimo pudding b4, yours look so pretty and delectable. I'm gg taipei soon, hopefully can find this dessert there :)

Yummy Bakes said...

Shirley - never heard of nagaimo pudding and even curious to know what is nagaimo. The pudding looks sooooooooo smooth and good.

travellingfoodies said...

oh yeah! i forgot to add that for a truly taiwanese experience, drizzle with winter melon syrup from Taiwan would be good!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Thanks, Alan. Believe it or not, I actually have a block of winter melon sugar which I believe I can melt to form a syrup!

Jo said...

Looks deliciously good and refreshing too! Didn't some one say less is more :P

Ellie | Gourmand Recipes said...

I have never heard of Nagaimo. Always learn something new reading your blog. Your soy pudding looks perfect, so smooth and silky.

edith said...

Bingo! Shirley you are right I found them in NTUC finest.

Going to prepare this tomorrow. I love firm jelly. So I am going to follow it to the T.

Alan, now I know. Cantonese used it to make soup. DIdn't know fresh ones look like that. Thanks for the info.

lena said...

i was suspecting this nagaimo is the one that we used to cook soup until alan mentioned it, now i can be sure. So interesting to find this in pudding. it looks so smooth that i cant even tell there's grated nagaimo inside.

mycookinghut said...

Never knew what Nagaimo is, but this is really an interesting recipe to learn.

tigerfish said...

it also took me a while to appreciate nagaimo and i like them in soups!

Xiaolu said...

Wow I'd never have guessed it was nagaimo. I have never tasted this root but have seen it mentioned in reference to Japanese cooking. Must say it always looked/sounded bland how I've seen it prepared. But this pudding, now this is something I can get behind!

Swee San @ The Sweet Spot said...

just so curious on how this would taste. Don't think I have eaten Nagaimo before.

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