Welcome to I am herbed! blog, this is my herbs blog... It is one way to show my obsession towards food we eat everyday, I welcome everyone to share knowledge with me here and if you love herbs too... feel free to contact me, click label I am herbed or my foodbuzz featured publisher badge to know more about me... and have a great time... ~Chef Nash

Shiso a.k.a Perilla...

>> Thursday, 14 January 2010

Assalamualakum and Salam Sejahtera to all…

Vernacular Name: Shiso, Perilla, Purple Mint, Japanese basil, Wild Coleus, Sesame leaf, Beefsteak plant…
Botanic Name: Brassica Juncea
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint)

 Organically grown, green and red/purple shiso...

Funny fact
I never knew Shiso was Perilla until one of ‘I am Herbed!” readers ask me to write about Perilla, then I googled it.  The funny thing is, we have been using Shiso but only we never knew it was also known as Perilla.  I went asking the Japanese Cuisine Chef (who is a Pilipino) about Perilla but he didn’t know it, in fact he ‘never heard of it’ he said, while Shiso was actually in the chiller (refrigerator).

The plant was believed to be originated in East and South Asia, although it is widely used in Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam.  Shiso is the Japanese name for Perilla and they even called the green  aojiso, aoba (green leaf), or aoshiso while the purple/red they called akajiso.  That makes two types of Shiso.  If you are a Sushi fan, you probably have tried green shiso as garnish for Sashimi and the purple shiso as ingredient used in Umiboshi or Umishiso Maki.  The Vietnamese called shiso tia tõ and used as garnish in rice vermicelli dishes called bùn.  The Korean named shiso as deulkkae or tûlkkae which mean ‘wild sesame’ and has many used in their cuisine. Their Perilla also a little bit different than the Japanese shiso in appearance.  The Chinese doesn’t used perilla so much in food but used it in their medicine.

The essential oil extracted from the leaves of perilla consists of a variety of chemical compound, depending on species.  The most abundant, comprising about 50% to 60% of the oil is perillaldehyde which is most responsible for the aroma and taste of perilla.

Uses in food
Shiso that I used in the kitchen are mostly imported from neighboring country, Malaysia and they came in small plastic pot, organically grown, so, they’re always fresh and growing too.  I used shiso as herbs in fritters (tempura), vegetable in fried noodle or noodle soup, garnish on presented dishes, replacement for basil, ingredients for salad, pizza topping and poaching water. 

Tips: when using perilla for soup/noodle soup, it is recommended to add them at the last phase of cooking, to let it boiled or steep just for a few minutes.

 Picked shiso ready to be used...

Medicinal Uses
The Chinese traditionally used Shiso as medicine and has been shown to stimulate interferon activity (protein agent that prevents bacteria or viruses in our immune system).  Shiso is also used as treatment for such ailments like indigestion, colds, malaria, cough and cholera. 

Other uses

The red/purple leaves are probably more interesting for its coloring capabilities range from a pale pink to an intensive red wine hue.  Perilla oil is obtained by pressing perilla’s seed, which content 35 to 45 % of perilla oil.  In parts of Asia, it is used as edible oil that is valued more for its medicinal benefits than its flavor.  Perilla oil is a very rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid.  The component in perilla’s oil as drying oil has been used for paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth.  The oil can also be used for fuel.

 I used shiso as pizza topping instead of basil...

I hope you enjoy reading...

Chef Nash...



>> Sunday, 11 October 2009

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all...

Vernacular name:  Rosemary
Botanic name:  Rosmarinus Officinalis
Family:  Labiatae

Rosemary was believed to be originated from the Mediterranean area but now it is planted in many places, in tropical area it is planted on high land.

Through research Rosemary has element of anti-bacteria, anti-fungi, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer.  It also produced hyperglycemia and poison for obsessive use.  It is not advisable to be taken by pregnant women or those who wants to get pregnant as it has poison element but rarely happened.

Rosemary in culinary or therapeutic doses is generally safe.

Content: 9.3% water, 46.5% carbohydrate, 5% protein, 15% fat, 18% fiber, 1-1% carnosic acid, iron, fit sterol, prosperous, calcium, magnesium, natrium, pro-vitamin A, vitamin B, and zinc.

I don't chop rosemary finely because it will turn black

Uses in food:
Rosemary has bitter and astringent taste. Chefs use it as marination for chicken and red meat.  Rosemary is also used in salad, cake, jam, biscuits, vinegar, cordial, butter, oil and wine. The oil is used as processed food flavor.

My style:
I usually put rosemary as herbs in stocks, especially for meat stock like beef or chicken, (not recommended to be used for fish/seafood as they don’t really get along). Chopped rosemary as marination for beef in grilled/barbeque and pan fried cooking method.  I also used it as extra flavor for sauce (whole/sprig) but you have to be careful adding another ingredient as some ingredient would kill its flavor and smell.  Cooking with Rosemary in potatoes and vegetables would give different result, tasty and scented.

Tips: using rosemary in stock or sauces, remember to not to pun the stems as it would result bitterness.

Poached chicken in rosemary water which I use for salad

Used as marination for beef steak

Medical use:
Researchers learnt that Roesmary’s leaves could make you active and improving memories.  Infusion is used as lotion for red eyes also for hair growth and anti-dandruff, also used as mouth washes and throat pain.  Rosemary’s oil is used as hair tonic, dry scalp, migraine, headache and breathing problems.  It is also used to improve out blood stream system, pump heart and liver.  Rosemary’s stems and leaves are used for menstruation cycle and as cure for asthma, nerve system, cough, fever, blotted and stomach pain.

Other uses:
Dry leaves and flowers are used as scent in ‘pot pouri’.  Stems and leaves were to be burnt to create smells in houses as purpose to get rid of (evil) spirit or to get rid of ‘bad luck’  It also used in Shampoo.  Rosemary oil is used as insecticide, ingredient for perfume, washing liquid, spray and soap.  Some people plant rosemary as bonsai in their garden. Spiders eat rosemary.

Rosemary sprig as garnish 

~In the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies - the bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary, and from this association with weddings rosemary evolved into a love charm. Newly wed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day. If the branch grew it was a good omen for the union and family. In ‘A Modern Herbal’, Mrs Grieves says “A rosemary branch, richly gilded and tied with silken ribands of all colours, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty.” Another example of rosemary’s use as a love charm was that a young person would tap another with a rosemary sprig and if the sprig contained an open flower, it was said that the couple would fall in love. Rosemary was used as a divinatory herb-several types of herbs were grown in pots and assigned the name of a potential lover. Then they were left to grow and the plant that grew the strongest and fastest gave the answer. Rosemary was also stuffed into poppets (cloth dolls) in order to attract a lover or attract curative vibrations for illness. It was believed that placing a sprig of rosemary under a pillow before sleep would repel nightmares, and if placed outside the home it would repel witches. Somehow, the use of rosemary in the garden to repel witches turned into signification that the woman ruled the household in homes and gardens where rosemary grew abundantly. By the 16th century, this practise became a bone of contention; and men were known to rip up rosemary bushes to show that they, not their wives, ruled the roost.~ taken from Wikepedia.com

Chef Nash…


Black Pepper...

>> Friday, 18 September 2009

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all...

Vernacular name: Black Pepper, Lada Hitam
Botanical name: Piper Nigrum
Family: Piperaceae

History and interesting facts:
Black Pepper was believed to be originated from India. It is native to India and has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BC.  Peppercorns were a much priced trade good, often referred as ‘black gold’ and used as a form of commodity money.  The ancient history of pepper is often interlinked with long papers until the discovery of chili pepper which when dried are similar in shape and taste, were easier to grow in variety of location.

Only after the Middle Ages (a period of history which lasted for roughly a millennium, from 5th to 16th century), virtually all of black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa traveled there from India’s Malabar region. It was also being grown in Java, Sunda, Sumatera, Madagascar, Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia but these areas traded mainly with China or used the pepper locally.

Black pepper, along with other spices from India has changed the course of world history.  It was in some part the preciousness of these spices that led to the European efforts to find a sea route to India and consequently to the European colonial occupation of that country, as well as the European discovery and colonization of the Americas.

A riddle found in 7th Century authored by Saint Aldhelm (a Latin poet).
I am black on the outside, clad in a wrinkled cover,
Yet within I bear a burning marrow.
I season delicacies, the banquets of kings, and the luxuries of the table,
Both the sauces and the tenderized meats of the kitchen.
But you will find in me no quality of any worth,
Unless your bowels have been rattled by my gleaming marrow.

Black peppercorns were found stuffed in the nostrils of Ramesses ll, placed there as part of the mummification ritual shortly after his death in 1213 BC.

Nutrition content: 9-12% water, 22-45% carbohydrate, 10-12% protein and 10-17% fiber.

Uses in food:
Black pepper is mostly used in food as spice and for flavoring/seasoning. It is known that once ground, the pepper’s aromatic can evaporated quickly and by that reason, grinding the whole peppercorns immediately before use, is recommended in most culinary sources.  I would say that pepper is used in most/all kitchens around the globe, you will see pepper mill or pepper shaker on their dining table along with salt.
I used Black Pepper as spice in my marinations of meat, chicken, poultry, fish, vegetables, stocks, soups and sauces. Whole pepper corns roasted together with meat to give that little spice/peppery flavor while ground black pepper I used as flavoring or seasoning/finishing taste for every cooking. In some spiced cooking I always put the whole pepper corns together with other spices, as, if you used it whole less peppery taste then using ground.  I also used it to make anyone (who talks a lot) near me to sneeze by putting that pepper powder near their nose… haha!

Uses for health and healing:
The 5th century ‘Syriac Book of Medicine’ prescribes pepper for such illness as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insects bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay and toothache.

Other uses:
Pepper spray is used for self protection, guess who use it? and having this device in their handbag? Pepper oil was processed and used as ingredients in perfume industries.

Note: before I made this article, I never know that herbs is the reason why in the old days sailor traveled but it also stated in history that they are actually looking for herbs for business purposes, not to discover the world which later has become primary purpose for them and herbs was that precious in the past… which proved people does love to eat good food… correct me if I am wrong… ;)

Info taken from wikepedia.com

And as bonus…

Peppery Beef

500gm tenderloin beef (dice)
Corn oil
5 cloves garlic (sliced)
5 nos shallots (sliced)
5 nos red chilies (sliced)
1 nos red bell pepper (julienne)
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp black pepper corn
5 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp chili paste
150 ml beef stock

Heat up a non sticky pan add 2 tbsp corn oil and sauté beef until dried or light brown color (at this stage, you might add some salt). Mean time, heat up a sauce pot, put in 2 tbsp corn oil and sauté garlic and shallot until fragrance. Add in tomato sauce and chili paste, stir, add in beef stock, cumin and pepper corns, cook to boil. Low fire and simmer, add in red chilies, bell pepper and beef, stir. Check seasoning, add salt to taste. Cover pot let it cook/simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Ready to be served.

Tips: you can actually cook them straight in one pot/pan but I sautéed the beef first because I like the beef to be colored and to get rid of their water, as the juice would give a dirt texture in the sauce. Some people would hate whole pepper corns in this dish but it is less hot than using ground and you could actually use ground pepper but remember to put less the amount, also you can actually eat that pepper corn. Dish is nice to be served with rice together with other dishes for family lunch or dinner. If you are using tough beef part simmer it longer to tenderize the meat and add more stock.

Note: this is much of a peppery tasted beef than spicy, as it is not that hot at all.

I hope you enjoy reading and have a great time… ;)

Regards, Chef Nash



>> Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all...

Vernacular name: Garlic, Bawang Putih
Botanical name: Allium Sativum
Family: Liliaceae                                         
Garlic was believed to be originated in Asia, where it has become naturalized and grows wild. Now it is grown in many countries around the world, the largest is produced by China with approximately 10.5 million annually followed by India, South Korea, Russia and United States. Garlic is easy to grow all year round in mild climate. In cold climates, cloves can be planted in the ground about six weeks before the soil freezes and harvested in late spring.                    

Garlic is a close relative to onion, shallot, leek and chives. For thousands years it has been used for both medical and culinary purposes, dating at least as far back as the time that the Giza Pyramid were built. Traditional English Cuisine was rarely using garlic but much more common ingredient used in Mediterranean Europe. In the account of Korea's establishment as a nation, gods were said to have given mortal women with bear and tiger temperaments an immortal's black garlic before mating with them. This is genetically unique six-clove garlic that was to have given the women supernatural powers and immortality. This garlic is still cultivated in a few mountain areas today.                                 
Nutrition content: 63-68% water, 28% carbohydrate, 3-7% protein, 0.2-0.3% fat, 0.8% fiber, allium compounds and sulfur compounds.                            
Uses in food:
Garlic is a fundamental component in many dishes of various regions. The flavor varies in intensity and aroma with different cooking methods and often paired with onion, ginger and tomato. Mixing garlic with eggs and olive oil produces aioli. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base produce skordalia. Blending garlic, almond oil, and soaked bread produces ajoblanco.  Blending garlic with butter and herbs and applied on breads will create varieties of classic cuisine like garlic bread, bruschetta, crostini and canapé.
Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic, one fresh clove of garlic is equivalent to 1/8 teaspoon of powdered garlic. Using fresh garlic also much more nutritious than powdered.
Garlic is essential in my cooking, not only for its flavoring purposes but also for its nutritious content. I would say most of my dishes using garlic, sliced, crush, chopped or blended. I use it in soups, stocks, sauces, meat, fish, chicken, noodle, veggies and fritters. Not using garlic for me I am missing one important ingredient, which is why garlic has a place in my kitchens all the time. 
Uses in health and healing:
Garlic has element of antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity.  It is claimed to help prevent heart disease and cancer.  Garlic is also allegedly to help regulate blood sugar level. In modern naturopathy, garlic is used as a treatment for intestinal worms and other intestinal parasites. The cloves are used as a remedy for infection, digestive disorders, and fungal infections. Garlic is chopped and mixed with honey to cured asthma, cough and chest pain.                   

Other uses:
Garlic is used to prevent insects, the liquid is brushed at door frame to avoid snake from entering. Many cultures have used garlic as protection against demons.

Side effects:
Garlic is known for causing halitosis, as well as causing sweat to have a pungent 'garlicky' smell which is caused by Allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). AMS is a gas which is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic; from the blood it travels to the lungs (and from there to the mouth causing bad breath) and skin where it is exuded through skin pores. Washing the skin with soap is only a partial and imperfect solution to the smell.

And as a bonus, a healthy soup recipe...
Garlic and Cauliflower cream soup

100gm cloves garlic (sliced)
250gm cauliflower (trimmed and cut)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200ml cream
800ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper                            
Heat up a pot and add in ‘evoo’. Sautee garlic until fragrance and then put in cauliflower, stir.  Add in stock and bring to boiled, then add in cream, stir. Low fire, let soup simmer until cauliflower soft. Blend soup thru food processor until fine and put back in the pot, check seasoning and soup ready to be served.
Dish garnish with ‘Tarragon garlic bread’, Basil oil and fried crispy garlic.
Tips: you may use different type of stock, for eg; veggie stock for vegetarian.                                   

Regards, Chef Nash



>> Friday, 11 September 2009

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all...

Vernacular name: Cinnamon, Cassia, Kayu Manis         
Botanic name: Cinamomom Verum         
Family: Lauraceae                    
Cinnamon is a type of spice that was obtained from the tree’s bark. It was believed to be originated from Sri Lanka where until today is the highest supplier of cinnamon in the world. It is now planted in many places around Middle East and spread to Asia.               

There is two different type of Cinnamon from different species of trees grown from different region. True Cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka which is one of the best qualities Cinnamon. Cassia comes from Indonesia also called Kayu Manis in local dialect. Some comes from China, India, Brazil and Vietnam.  All Cinnamons from these regions is mostly similar but high quality Cinnamon/Cassia is very thin, smooth bark with a light yellowish brown color and has a highly fragment aroma.
Cassia also named as Cinnamon in the market.
Uses in food:
Cinnamon is mostly used in food as spice and flavoring. In some places, they use it in chocolate preparation.  It is also used in preparation of desserts like, fruit pie, buns, candies and tea. In some places liquor manufacturers used cinnamon as ingredient in their product.  Cinnamon is one of the key ingredients for curry paste which is mixed with some other ingredients like curry, cumin, turmeric and ginger.                 

I used cinnamon a lot in my cooking especially in stocks, soups, paste cooking like curries and korma.  I also used cinnamon in my apple pie. The bark also used to produce oil for flavoring, processed food, sweetener and drinks.                

Uses for health and healing:
Through research Cassia is an effective treatment for ‘type 2 diabetes’. It is also used traditionally to treat toothache and fight bad breath. Decoction is used to stimulate blood flows and aid digestion. It is also as cured for diarrhea, high fever, influenza, skin problems and bloated.      

     Cassia (left) and Cinnamon, can you spot the different?

Other uses:
Cinnamon oil is used in perfume, cosmetic industries, and soap. It is also used as eugenol to make artificial vanilla.  Seed oil is used to make expensive candle while oil from the bark is used in toothpaste and parametrical product.

Info taken from ‘Terapi Alami Rempah-Ratus Khasiat Makanan & Ubatan by Ong Hean Chooi’ malay version and Wikepedia.com
Note:  I wrote this article as simple as I could for my study and understanding more about product I used in food or other purposes. Its knowledge for me and sharing it is for you to know.  I personally thank you for reading this and hope that we benefit from it.  If you want to read more info about Cinnamon please check out where I took the info from.                 

Chef Nash



>> Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all...

Vernacular Name: Saffron, Zafran
Botanical Name: Crocus Sativus L.
Family Name: Iridadeae                     

Saffron was believed to be originated in Mediterranean area, now it is widely planted in Europe, Middle east, and spread further to east part of the world. Unfortunately, I can’t grow Saffron at my backyard because it need moderate dry and cold atmosphere. It is known that the best saffron were found in middle east… or is it somewhere else?                       

Saffron was claimed to be the most expensive herbs in the world and for that not much quantity to be used in food, that is for costing reason.                 

Content: cineol, carotene, crocatine, crocine, likopen, essence oil, picrocrocin, pinean, safronal and zeaxantine.          

Uses on food: as flavoring, as herbs and colouring.                

My style: I usually used saffron in creamy sauce because of the colouring, red-ish yellow. Taste wise, I usually put about 10 to 15 nos per portion as adding too much saffron will spoiled other ingredients. Saffron are nice with seafood especially prawns. I also add saffron in my coffee and I called it ‘Kupi SaprunKu’. I don’t used saffron so much because of its high price but I drink it with my coffee… ;)                  

Uses for health: the female saffron can heal asthma, cough and fit. It is also can cure irregular menstrual cycle for women.                

Other uses: Some people use saffron for coloring in textile but I don’t think they can afford it since saffron is so expensive.   


Saffron is consider my top 10 list of herbs but never the best as
it is only nice for some food (little) not much but taste wise...
Love it a lot...



Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all...

Vernacular Name : Ginger, Halia, Jahe, Atuja
Botanical Name :  Zingiber Officinale Roscoe
Family : Zingiberaceae                      

Ginger or Halia is a kind of root spice or herb, was believed to be originated from South Asia.  It is now planted in many places like India, West Africa and the Caribbean.  There are many uses from Ginger, some mainly as medicine, spice for food and drink as tea.                      

 Old ginger, looks nearly dried and more fibrous.

Uses in food:
Young ginger rootstocks are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste, it is often pickled in vinegar or cooked as ingredient in many dishes. It is also used as spice for meat, chicken, fish, rice, soup, and vegetables.  Stewing ginger can produced ginger tea.
Old Ginger roots are fibrous and looks nearly dry, it produced dried ginger and ginger powder. It is used as spice for meat, chicken, fish, rice and vegetables.
Ginger also acts as a useful preservative, it has been proven to kill the harmful becteria, Salmonella. In some places ginger are made into candy, flavors for cake, cookies and crackers.  It is the main flavor for popularly known carbonated drinks ginger ale and ginger beer.
Fresh ginger: 81% water, 12% carbohydrate, 2.3% protein, 1% fat, 2.5% fiber, essence oil and oleoresin.     
Dried Ginger: 10% water, 40-60% carbohydrate, 10-20% protein, 10% fat, 2-10% fiber, essence oil and oleoresin.            

Uses for health and healing:
Leaves are to be chopped and the juice (by pressing thru clothes) is placed on body parts to cured malaria, diarrhea, high fever, headache and problem food digestion. Rootstocks are to be boiled/stewed and juice to be drunk for curing colds and sore throat. It is an effective cured for nausea that is caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy.   
Young ginger...
Other uses:
Ginger oil is used in cosmetic industry, perfume and pharmacy product.


Herbs is life...

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