"Double boiling" is a simple yet scientific way to cook at a constant temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. Tranditional Chinese cooking and traditional Chinese medicine recognise that double boiling is an ideal way for food preparation.  Why?
One obvious reason is that if we exceed a hundred degrees C, many of the nutrients would be destroyed.  Another reason is that tasty sauces and gravies are sensitive to temperature, and double boiling would reduce taste-change, burn-out or dry-out.

In its simplest form, water is poured into a large pan or pot to about 2 - 4 cm depth. It is then brought to boil, and a smaller pot containing the ingredients are then placed inside the larger pot. The water is kept boiling for the duration specified in the recipe.  The word "double-boil" probably comes from the fact the you boil the water and the the contents in the second container are in turn boiled by the boiling water.  However, there is a problem with this method:  the water may all be vaporised before you are finished with the cooking and you have to keep watch and add hot water to prevent this.

Zisa Pot image

A more convenient way is to use a commercially available "double boiler" which is a special electrical pot with two layers: one holding the boiling water and the other the food to be cooked. This is a single-purpose electrical double-boiler.   However, if you decide to invest in a double-boiler, you may as well spend a little more and buy a computerised "Zhisha" 紫砂 multi-function double boiler marketed under the registered trademark of "Zisa".  This Zisa® boiler (the manufacturer calls it Zisa® Computerized Steaming & Stewing Mug) can be used as a steamer, stewer and double boiler.  What is the advantage?  Firstly it is computerised and the boiler would auto-cutoff if the water were to run out. Once you refill the water, it would continue boiling for the remaining duration initially selected. Usually the water would not run out if you follow the instructions.  Secondly, the Zisa® pots (the inner food and ingredient containers) are made of zhisha紫砂, a material ideal for making double boiler container.  Why?  Zhisha紫砂 is "a  precious mineral resource found indigenous in China, contains [sic] 16 natural elements, including Iron, Potassium, Calcium which are beneficial to human body. The natural iron contained in the Purple Clay [Zisha] Pot can disintegrate fat. This helps to balance the PH value of the body and gradually build up a health shield." [1]   Tea-pots made from zhisha紫砂 are the best and even high officials use these zhisha紫砂 tea-pots as gifts.

Lotus Pork Soup image

Novice to double boiling usually start with a simple recipe such as Lotus Root and Red Dates Soup.  This soup is especially good for post natal confinement, but others could also have it.  Lotus root when double boiled is slightly warm in nature.  By adding red dates and dried longan flesh, the soup is supposed to purify the blood and strengthen the heart.  According to Natal Essentials, "cooked Lotus Root turns into warm nature and is good for strengthening the spleen, stimulating the appetite and  benefiting the blood."  If the soup is not specially prepared for post natal consumption, then you may also add dried squid to give it more kick (or omh). Well, here is the recipe:

Double Boiled Lotus Root Pork Rib with Red Date & Peanut Soup
红枣
花生莲藕排骨汤

Ingredients:

  • 500 g of lotus root
  • 400 g of pork ribs, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 10 red dates
  • 20 g of dried longan flesh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Preparation:
  1. Clean the lotus root and rinse well.  Cut into thin slices crosswise.
  2. Remove the seeds from the red dates
  3. Scald the pork ribs in hot water for 3 - 4 minutes and then rinse
  4. Put all the ingredients into the Zisa® pot (Z-pot) and pour in hot water until the level is over the ingredient
  5. Cover and place the Z-pot into the main plastic container
  6. Pour water into gap between the Z-pot and the main plastic container until almost reaching the maximum level indicator mark
  7. With power on, press the stew button and set to 3.0 which is medium heat
  8. The soup will cooked automatically for 3 hours and then kept warm until you wish to consume it

To cut fats to a minimum, do not fry your food.  Steam, double-boil or stew them instead.  By double boiling, you could enjoy your meat and fish in a healthier way.

Sources:
[1] Purple Clay Technology Pte Ltd, Zisatech.com

Disclaimer: This posting is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek qualified health-care professional's assistance before embarking on any health program.

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