Dr Linda Shiue embraces an approach to medicine that puts food and nutrition at its heart. And through this, she has helped numerous patients make simple dietary changes that have transformed their lives—improving both their health and the way they feel.
We spoke to Shiue about this approach and her debut cookbook, Spicebox Kitchen, in which she shares vegetable-forward recipes that hail from California, Asia, the Mediterranean and Middle East, and Trinidad, and incorporate a wide range of spices chosen for their health benefits. Through her book she hopes to bring her nutrition-based approach to eating and feeling better to a new audience.
For a taste of Shiue’s vegetable-forward approach, we’ve excerpted three recipes from her Asian chapter. Discover more plant-forward recipes from around the world in Spicebox Kitchen, published March 16, 2021.
The classic version of Chinese scallion pancakes is made with white flour. To up the nutrition factor while maintaining soft layers and flakiness, I’ve replaced half the flour with white whole wheat flour. I’ve also added Sichuan peppercorns, which can be omitted for a simpler version. Pair these with freshly made soy milk for a classic Chinese breakfast. Note: If you have a thermometer, use it. If not, see instructions below for approximating the correct temperature.
Makes 4 pancakes
1 cup water
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
2 cups thinly sliced scallions (about 2 bunches)
½ teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
Oil, for frying
1. To heat water to the appropriate temperature, boil water and let cool until a thermometer reads 150°F, about 3 minutes. You can also approximate when your water is the right temperature, which is just below simmering. Allow simmering water to cool for 2 to 3 minutes to get to the right temperature.
2. Sift flours together in a large bowl. Make a well in centre of flour mixture, then slowly pour in hot water and mix with a wooden spoon until dough just comes together. Note that 150°F water is hot enough to burn, so you will need to let dough cool slightly before working with it—use only a spoon to incorporate water, not your hands. Do not overmix, or dough will get tough—avoid this!
3. After dough has cooled to the point where you can comfortably touch it, transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Cover with a damp, clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Divide rested dough into four equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Work with one ball at a time, keeping others covered. Roll out each ball into an 8-inch circle. Brush or use the back of a teaspoon to spread a thin layer of sesame oil on dough’s surface, and then roll it up into a log. Next, roll log into a spiral shape, tucking in its end underneath.
5. Flatten each spiral into an 8-inch disk. Brush with another layer of sesame oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, ½ cup of scallions, and ⅛ teaspoon of crushed Sichuan peppercorns (if using). Then, roll into a log, this time pinching ends so the filling doesn’t come out, and twist into a spiral, as you did the first time. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
6. Flatten each filled spiral of dough into an 8-inch disk.
7. To cook: Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Cook each pancake until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, sprinkling each with a pinch of salt before it cools.
8. Serve hot. Cut into eight wedges and serve with dipping sauce, if desired.