Sometimes the best food is simple. And the special zuo yuezi (Chinese postpartum confinement) foods prepared for new mothers to help them recover after childbirth need not be complicated to cook, either. I have been inspired by the Windmill cookbook authored by Dr Chuang Jin Funn to try a simple recipe, using fresh basil from my balcony and some eggs.
The zuo yuezi diet is big on protein. During my month long zuo yuezi ritual, I ate eggs in one form of another at least once a day. Basil has traditionally been used as a galactogogue — a food that can help increase milk supply in lactating women — throughout Eurasia. And it has other health benefits, too, such as being able to calm the nerves. This recipe does not use salt as this is usually avoided during zuo yuezi, especially during the early weeks.
2 bunches of Thai basil
1 teaspoon of canola oil or other good quality frying oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- Crack the eggs into a bowl, and whisk with a fork.
- Wash and dry the basil, and pick off the leaves and add to the egg mixture. There is no need to chop the leaves. Mix to combine.
- Add the oil to a frying pan. I like to use a cast iron omelette pan, but any pan — or wok — is fine. When hot, add the egg mixture.
- Allow to cook until the bottom has browned and the top is not too runny. Carefully flip and cook until done.
- Cut into slices and enjoy.
Dr Chuang’s cookbook is in Chinese, but I believe that Windmill is working on an English language version. I am sure it will be popular once it is ready.
And if you are wondering why I have been so quiet lately, partly this is because I have been home alone with my boys for a while. But also, have been knuckling down and finally getting stuck into writing zuo yuezi the book. This partially explains why I have been doing so much zuo yuezi cooking lately. I would love to hear from you about what aspects of zuo yuezi you find most interesting (appealing, disgusting or otherwise), and what you would most like to read about.