Lily Bulb – for Soothing Lungs & Mind


Lily Bulb – for Soothing Lungs & Mind

Vicky Chan - July 1, 2015

 

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Lily flower has long been used by many cultures as a symbol of tranquility, peace and prosperity. The Roman Catholic Church used lily flowers to symbolize the Virgin Mary and to represent its own state of independence and prosperity. The Chinese culture uses lily bulb to make desserts for festivities and weddings to symbolize good luck and longevity of marriages.

Chinese medicine classifies the lily plant as bitter in taste, mild in nature, and beneficial to our hearts and lungs. The flowers are dried and used in cooking stews or soups. The more potent scale leaves of the bulb have a whitish surface, sharp at the tip and broad at the base, hard and brittle in nature and with a thin margin. The healing properties of lily include moisturizing the lungs, relieving cough from lung-dryness, clears heart-fire and tranquilizes the mind. Dried lily bulbs are commonly used in herbal formulas for promoting lung health, treating yin-deficiency of the heart which manifests as irritability, insomnia, dreaminess, palpitation and absent-mindedness, and promotes vital fluid and improves skin complexion.

In recent years with the increased availability of fresh lily bulbs, they are appearing more in the menus of Chinese fine cuisine.  The fresh scale leaves can be eaten raw as fruit or sprinkled on top of cold dishes or salad. Using fresh lily bulbs in stir-fry or congee is popular for increasing the health value of the dishes. Since over cooking fresh lily will dissolve most of it, it should only be added at the very last minute. When using lily in soups and desserts, they should not be cooked for more than two minutes.  For treating the very young and old with lily, steaming it for about 10 minutes will turn it into a paste, making them easy to both eat and digest.   

The traditional Chinese wedding dessert uses lotus seeds and lily bulbs for good luck. It is because saying the two ingredients together sounds like saying ‘Hundred Years Good Union’. The recipe is delicious and is better using fresh lily bulbs instead of dried ones. The following is the recipe. It is very simple and easy to make, tasty and healthy for the whole family, therefore is commonly served at home and in family restaurants all year round.

 

Red Beans, Lotus Seeds and Lily Bulb Dessert

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THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS:

Promotes blood and improves circulation for better skin and complexion, calming the heart energy for better sleep, promotes vital fluid for soothing lungs, lowers internal heat and promotes yin balance. 

INGREDIENTS:  (for 4 servings)

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  • Red beans – 1 cup
  • Lotus seeds –1 cup
  • Fresh lily bulb (bai he) –  one bag (of 2 or 3)
  • Mandarin orange peel – 1 piece (optional)
  • Organic/natural sugar –  to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

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1.   Soak beans and lotus seeds for about 2 hours and rinse clean.

2.   Discard outer leaves of lily bulb which are brown and dirty. Cut out brown tips and base of inside leaves, separate them and rinse clean.

3.   Soak orange peel for 30 minutes. Use a small knife to scrape out and discard the white membrane from the back side of the peel (to get rid of the bitter taste). Rinse clean.

4.   Put beans and lotus seeds in a pot with 8 to 9 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and lower heat to medium and cook until the beans and seeds are tender and turn into a thick soup (about 1.5 hours). Add boiling water to the cooking if necessary.

5.   When ready, add sugar to taste and wait until the sugar is dissolved. Add lily and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve.

USAGE:

No restriction.

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