Do you know that childen’s song can be used as an effective and influential tool in promoting a healthy diet to toddlers? It may sound weird to some people, but it really worked for my son.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor (x4), A-P-P-L-E” - is a song my son learnt from his playgroup that had successfully changed him from one who rejected apple into one who is now an avid apple lover. So calling all parents, try this useful trick if you have kids who refuse to eat healthy food, be it apple or something else.
Ever since he could proudly sing the song, this apple soup has become my son’s favourite soup. I had found this recipe from a Chinese cookbook (方太食谱). Among its ingredients are figs and sweet & bitter almonds that are capable of treating cough according to Chinese traditional medicine. It is a very nourishing yet tasty soup, and is recommended for the entire family (not just toddlers) in this hot season.
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This recipe is also available in Chinese. Please go to Kwong Wah Yit Poh e-newspaper for further reading.
Red apples (2 large or 3 small) (红萍果）
250g lean pork (瘦肉）
10g sweet almonds (南杏) – also known as sweet apricot kernels or seeds (refer to note 1)
5g bitter almonds（北杏）- also known as bitter apricot kernels or seeds (refer to note 2)
4 candied dates (蜜枣）- I used large candied dates (金丝蜜枣)
3 fig fruits (无花果）
1100 ml water (清水）
- Peel and core the apples, then rinse and chop them into 4 wedges for each one. Set aside
- Rinse lean pork. Cut it into chunk. Blanch it over boiling water. Dish up and set aside.
- Rinse candied dates, figs and sweet and bitter almonds. Set aside.
- Put water in a cooking pot and bring it to a boil. Add in all ingredients in the pot. Use medium heat to bring the water to reboil. Switch to low fire and simmer for another 2 hours.
- Turn off heat. Add salt to taste. Serve.
- It is better to peel off the skins as the skins may contain pesticide if the washing is not done properly.
- You can substitute lean pork with pork ribs.
- You can use a combination of apples and pears (yellow) to make this soup.
- If you prefer less sweetness for this soup, you can use 3 candied dates. Remember to rinse and wash thoroughly those sugars coated on the candied dates.
Functions for each ingredient used: (Source: The World of Nourishing and Fine Soups by Kenny Chen)
- Sweet almonds/sweet apricot kernels or seeds (南杏)- It tastes sweet and is neutral in nature. It is non-toxic and relieves cough.
- Bitter almonds/ bitter apricot kernels or seeds (北杏)- It heals cough and expels phlegm. [WARNING: As bitter almond carries a slight trace of toxins (cyanide), please use it with extreme caution. There is a concern about the potential health effects associated with large numbers of bitter apricot kernels being consumed on a regular basis, particularly by young children (as mentioned in this link). It is also not advisable for pregnant ladies. If you’re not comfortable eating it, then exclude it from the recipe. Other reading reference: Is it safe to eat bitter apricot kernels by David Lebovitz.]
- Fig fruits (无花果）- It clears heat and phlegm, nourishes the lungs and aids digestion with its high fibre content.
- Candied dates (蜜枣) – It enhances human immunity and inhibits cancer cells. It is also help to against allergic and enhance appetite.