Your diners will be clamouring for second helpings. By Estelle Low
This turkey dish uses powerful herbs like American ginseng, wolfberries, red dates, coix barley and licorice root. Photo: Eu Yan Sang International Ltd
Instead of stuffing your bird with the usual fruits or bread crumbs, try a more nutritious option: herbs-infused rice.
The herbs here are considered star ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine: American ginseng, wolfberries, red dates, coix barley and licorice root.
American ginseng is widely known for its immunity-boosting properties, and is commonly prescribed for flu or cold in traditional Chinese medicine.
A favourite in Chinese cooking, wolfberries are high in antioxidants, and linked with better blood circulation as well as eye health. Plus, their bright red hue will make any dish pop.
Red dates are known to boost the digestive system. In TCM, they are commonly used for treating loose stools and poor appetite.
Coix barley is said to reduce water retention in the body, which is sometimes responsible for making you feel bloated and look puffy.
Licorice root has antibacterial and decongestant properties, so it’s often recommended by TCM physicians to relieve inflammation in the body.
And because the herbs and turkey provide natural flavours, you don’t need much salt or sauce. Follow this recipe by Eu Yan Sang International Ltd to make the most outstanding and comforting turkey dish ever. The few hours spent in the kitchen will be totally worth it!
Roasted Herbal Turkey
Serves six to eight
Photo: Imagehit Limited | Exclusive Contributor / 123rf.com
Herbal Rice Stuffing
8 tbsp butter
4 pieces of large onions, sliced
500g shiitake mushrooms, sliced or chopped
4 to 5 cups herbal chicken broth
1½ cups wild rice
1 cup white rice
½ cup coix barley, pre-boiled and strained
½ cup dried wolfberries
¾ cup fresh ginkgo nuts, peeled and boiled
20g red dates
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup coriander, chopped
4.5kg turkey, thawed
20g sage and thyme
Ground black pepper
¼ cup turkey dripping/fat
300ml herbal chicken broth
Part 1: Herbal Chicken Broth
1. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients, except ginseng wine. Reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
2. Add a dash of ginseng wine, strain herbs from broth. Set aside.
Part 2: Herbal Rice Stuffing
1. Use butter to saute onions until caramelised. Saute mushrooms until slightly softened. Set aside.
2. Add 4 cups of herbal chicken broth to wild rice. Simmer for 8 minutes.
3. Stir barley and white rice into broth mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Add ginkgo nuts, red dates, ginger, sauteed onions, mushrooms and wolfberries. Simmer for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Cover pot and leave for 10 minutes.
Part 3: Roasted Turkey
1. Preheat oven to 160⁰C. Add thyme and sage to lightly-melted butter to baste turkey.
2. Thaw turkey completely. Remove neck and giblets. Rub salt on internal cavity and wash thoroughly. Pat dry turkey inside out.
3. Fill turkey with herbal rice stuffing. Add ginseng and licorice root for more flavour.
4. Season turkey with thyme, sage, salt, pepper and brush with melted butter. Place breast-side up and roast for 2 hours. Baste with turkey fat or butter every 30 minutes.
5. After 2 hours, increase oven temperature to 200⁰C and roast for another hour or until skin is crisp. Set aside for 45 minutes before serving.
Part 4: Gravy
1. Heat up fat and drippings of turkey in oven pan. Sprinkle flour to make a golden brown paste over low heat.
2. Slowly whisk in small amounts of herbal chicken broth over low heat. Simmer into gravy of your desired thickness and serve.
Tip: If the broth runs out, boil the turkey giblets in water and use it as a substitute. Add shreds of chicken to the gravy for a richer flavour.