Chicken meat salad with pomegranate
As I mentioned in the section About me, I like different types of ethnic cuisine. Traditional recipes refer to the fact that our ancestors knew about healthy nutrition, life in harmony with nature and different seasons more than we do. In a way, I fell in love with Armenian cuisine. Armenia has been involuntarily and many times in history affected by many different nations and probably because of that its cuisine has assumed a lot of foreign elements. In the difficult times of Armenian history, it was also important to get out with simple ingredients. This led to great modesty and at the same time extraordinary creativity.
Although this recipe is of Armenian origin, its variations can be found on the Mediterranean or Turkish tables.
I like a fusion approach to cookery. I know purists and traditionalists will be surely angry, but I think that in the context of TCM, combining different cooking styles is more than beneficial. Various methods of preparing the meal, removal or addition of one or more ingredients, provide different therapeutic effects.
For the original recipe you will need:
2 chicken breasts
carrot, onion (another root vegetables according to your choice or needs)
100 g of walnuts (presoaked for better digestibility and chopped)
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (homemade if possible)
about 150 g of sour cream
Cook the chicken breasts together with cleaned and peeled vegetables. Let them cool down and chop them. As well as in French cuisine it is almost mandatory to provide tiny and equally sized pieces in Armenia but if you are into a more rustic style, then here you go. Next add half of the nuts, and the grains from one-half of the pomegranate, add mayonnaise, cream, salt and pepper and mix carefully. Use remaining pomegranate seeds and nuts for the garnish.
Armenians serve this salad as a starter on special occasions along with the traditional bread Lavash. Even though it is a simple meal to prepare, decorated with those vermilion beads attracts the eye.
From the TCM point of view:
This dish is a selection of ingredients destined for cold days. From my perspective, it’s downright winter food. However, we can simply adjust the properties of this dish by replacing certain components. Feel free to experiment a little. For example, during a feverish illness (pneumonia, flu), you should not eat chicken. Rather wait until the convalescence period. If you still wanna enjoy this salad under these health conditions, use the beef instead. Beef is of a balanced nature and has a sweet taste; it has a strengthening effect but without an exaggeratedly warming impact. On the other hand, if you just came completely frozen from the winter forest, skip the sour cream which has a cooling effect. Now let’s have a look at two main ingredients closer:
The pomegranate is very important in Armenian cuisine and mythology. This fruit is known as a symbol of abundance and fertility in many different cultures, including the Chinese. Its seeds garnish dishes at Chinese weddings and it is a common gift for newly married women. Pomegranate has a special meaning and significance also in Jewish traditions and New Year customs. A large number of seeds in the pomegranate should remind us of unlimited possibilities for the New Year and the number of good deeds that we should perform. The origin of this fruit is not completely clear but most likely it spread eastwards to India and China from Iran and Afghanistan. It is popular around the Mediterranean where pomegranates are often found in paintings and in embroideries.
The pomegranate has an astringent and sour taste, it is of a warm nature and relates to the meridians of the liver and gallbladder. The seeds could be used for a sore throat. Crush them, simmer with water for about 15 minutes, strain them and let them cool. To relieve symptoms, take as needed. If you suffer a persistent cough, try to consume seeds from one-half of a pomegranate before bedtime.
For acute diarrhoea, Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends taking pomegranate seeds and a tiny bit of skin of the fruit, crushing them together, adding salt, covering them and steam with water in the non-metallic pot for about 20 minutes. Drink a small amount of this decoction three times a day. Because the rind of pomegranate is slightly toxic, use this potion with caution and for only a short period of time. Avoid it during pregnancy or if you suffer from weakened digestion.
is warm in nature and has a sweet taste, it relates to the spleen and kidney’s meridians. Chicken meat contains one of the warmest animal proteins and it has significant strengthening effects. It is used in severe physical or psychological overload, convalescence, fatigue, rheumatism, tinnitus due to kidney emptiness, loss of appetite or diarrhoea with the presence of mucus in the stool. We can use it also in case of insufficient breast milk production.
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