Friday, May 23, 2008

Kacangma - Traditional herbal tonic still widely used today

TODAY, many Chinese mothers still cook a very special dish called kacangma chicken, the traditional herbal tonic, for their daughters who have just given birth.

Kacangma (the herb) or Chinese motherwort, contains protein, carbohydrates and minerals like calcium, sodium, and potassium, vitamins A, B1, B2 and acid ascorbic, to name a handful.

The herb is believed to be effective in improving blood circulation and enhancing the immune system, especially in speeding up post-natal recovery.

Kacangma chicken is regarded as a delicacy peculiar to Malaysia despite the fact that the ‘confinement concept’ among the Chinese community worldwide is more or less similar.

Kuching Organic Herb Society president Kiew Pee Hua recently shared with thesundaypost her recipe for kacangma dish.

“I could still recall preparing kacangma for my daughter after she gave birth to her first child. You don’t need the skills of a chef … only have to remember a few simple steps,” said the proud grandmother.

“Only a few ingredients are needed like ginger, sesame oil, rice wine and some dry kacangma. For Muslims, rice wine can be substituted with soya sauce,” she added.

According to her, the dried kacangma and ginger sediments have to be stir-fried with sesame oil until the ingredients turn golden colour before some pieces of chicken are added. Then, continue to sauté the chicken until the juice from the pieces dry up.

After that, pour in some water with half to a full glass of rice wine (depending on individual preference) on the chicken and let the it cook for a while. Before serving, a bit more rice wine and ginger juice can be added.

“It’s ideal for getting rid of rheumatalgia ‘hong’ or wind in Chinese terminology) in the body,” she stressed.

Kiew said kacangma could also regulate menses as a health benefit.

She also said people who experienced serious coughing (with white discharges) could improve their condition by taking kacangma chicken.

Moreover, the dish could be “modified” to suit everyone.

“For a change, cook kacangma with other ingredients like lamb and ribs if you no longer fancy chicken,” she suggested.


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