Dishes created with healthy ingredients
This article was first published in Mind Your Body on Jan 30, 2014.
Chinese restaurant Crystal Jade Golden Palace has created some healthier dishes for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
One is the hearty five treasure yusheng, or raw fish salad. It is a healthy combination of pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raw amberjack and hazelnut oil.
The seeds and nuts, which give a delectable crunch to the dish, are the main reason this dish has been singled out by the restaurant as one of its healthier offerings for the festive season.
The other reason is the use of hazelnut oil, which is low in saturated fats and has antioxidants, said Ms Samantha Yap, the corporate communications manager at Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding.
The oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower the risk of heart disease.
The oil lends a mild, nutty aroma to the dish, especially when you bite into a generous slice of raw amberjack.
It is one of two types of raw fish - salmon is the other - that is served with the yusheng ($78.80 which serves four to six, $128.80 for 10), which comes with a plum sauce mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The dish, however, does contain crispy deep-fried taro strips and deep-fried batter pieces.
Another healthier dish is the double-boiled dendrobium with fish maw soup ($43), which is free of oil, chicken powder stock and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Dendrobium is a Chinese herb that is beneficial to the digestive system and kidneys, said Ms Yap.
Two other healthier dishes in this year's festive menu are kurobuta pork strips sauteed with assorted mushrooms and capsicum ($32) and a braised dish of sea cucumber and scallop with barley ($38).
The pork dish is 70 per cent vegetable, according to Ms Yap, and contains cordycep flowers, a herb believed to help strengthen the lungs, kidney and liver, and reduce blood sugar, among other benefits.
What stands out is the distinct fragrance and taste of coconut oil, which is believed to be beneficial to gut health. Ms Yap said the restaurant uses only organic, raw, extra virgin coconut oil.
The braised dish is flavourful, with each barley grain well covered in the sauce. Barley is said to help lower blood sugar and blood pressure, among other benefits.
The fine dining restaurant, which offers Teochew and Cantonese cuisine, serves dishes that are certified by the Health Promotion Board. The Chinese New Year dishes, however, are not part of the list.
Mind Your Body paid for the meal.