It’s a day before the time of the month, no fun at all. My body was roasting hot in the day even when the ceiling fan was on full blast. 😥This is because of the production of progesterone and manifestation of ordinary mood swings in hormonal levels.
Concurrently, my mind was bombarded with flashing thoughts, hypothetical scenarios, and complex emotions began to surface… Before I sank deeper into a rabbit of hole of uncertainties, I distracted myself by doing these 3 things:
1) Meditate for 10 minutes with my Headspace app
2) Listen to “Get well soon” by Ariana Grande from her sweetener album
3) Make a soulful Thai curry I learnt from my recent retreat in Phuket
Doing something slow, and therapeutic releases the tension, and the cramps. Of course, nothing is more comforting than making something tangible, warm and nourishing for myself to feel better!
What do I eat before and during period?
Iron intake level up
Double up my iron intake first to compensate the amount blood I’ll be losing. Brace myself! The most absorbable sources of iron for me is fish (barramundi and salmon). On days I choose to go meatless, I incorporate leafy greens (spinach, kale, bak choy), legumes and soy (tofu and soy protein, soy milk). To boost the absorption rate, add Vitamin C. I pair my meals with a cup of water with a Vitamin C effervescent tablet or snack on citrus fruits!
More vitamin B-12
Take one vitamin B-12 supplement a day to support the functioning in energy metabolism, DNA and red blood cells development. Vitamin B-12 is a vital nutrient that our body requires for essential functioning. Taking this supplement is key for vegetarians or vegans. Our bodies do not make vitamin B-12, we absorb it from animal foods (clams, tuna, eggs, yogurt, trout) or foods fortified with B-12 (fortified cereals, fortified nutritional yeast, fortified non-dairy milk). Similarly, on days I decide to opt for less meat, I drink soy milk with a high fat coffee every morning to meet the daily requirement.
Choose better carbs (not the white ones)
It is impossible for me to live a day without carbs. Especially white rice and noodles that lead me to a dreadful food coma. During period, I stock up soba (buckwheat noodles), quinoa, green bean noodles as substitutes. Going for low GI products can still make us replete with its nutritional benefits.
Use natural seasoning (no salt please)
I am practically a bloated balloon every morning, no matter how I try to suck it in 😭. Having salt-laden food like chips, fries, take-outs will only cause water retention and aggravate the already moody self. So I prepare my own meals, empower myself by putting food with less sodium into the system, and drink more water. Instead of a dash of salt, go for a teaspoon of miso or fresh herbs to flavour up!
With all the tips above, I have refined the Thai curry recipe I learnt and developed this “Thai Red Curry Barramundi Soba”.
The gentle, mild taste of Cone Bay Barramundi was very pleasant to cook for a low-maintenance curry. Very much similar to freshly caught wild fish, it lent saltwater sweetness to the curry, and remained incredibly firm even if you overcooked a little. Even though it did not exude a strong odour, I always sprinkle a dash of pink sea salt, and splash of sesame oil on raw fillets before cooking. Also, the fish is low in mercury levels, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats, thus being my second choice of fish after salmon.
Every time I decide to make a spiced Asian meal and end up with tons of unused ingredients, I will be in a real quandary about whether to cook it again. But for this recipe, I was thrilled to purchase a Tom Yam Ingredient Set! Most of the essential ingredients for the curry are similar to Tom Yam, and the portion fits right for 2-4 servings, it really helps avoid food waste!
Typically, I prefer to pound the red curry ingredients for freshness, and the free therapy! Alternatively, I recommend buying a store-bought Thai red curry paste for the convenience. For the distinctive citrus fragrance, cut the crushed kaffir lime leaves in very thin strips so you can taste its lingering astringent flavour with the curry without having to throw them away!
THAI RED CURRY BARRAMUNDI SOBA (serves 2)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
200g Cone Bay Barramundi Fillet, Themeatclub
2 large asparagus, sliced diagonally
50g enoki mushroom, cut off base
50g brown shimeji mushroom, cut off base
3 sweet baby corn, halved
4 lemongrass, chop away green part, use only the white base and pound them slightly using a pestle till the out layer splits open.
4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, crushed, remove stem, cut thinly
200ml UHT natural coconut cream
A handful of chopped Thai coriander, for garnish
15g palm sugar, jaggery
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 heaping tsp red miso, to taste
Pink sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Red Curry Paste (optional)
2 large dried chilli
2 bird’s eye red chilli
2 garlic cloves
2 thumbs fresh turmeric root
1 medium shallot
1 thumb galangal
*The Tom Yam Ingredient Set comes with: lemongrass, shallots, galangal, bird’s eye chills, kaffir lime leaves, and lime
*Alternatively, you can use 1 tbsp store-bought Thai red curry paste, available in Cold Storage and FairPrice Xtra
Remove skin from Barramundi Fillet, and slice in large chunks (about 7 pieces). Season it with a pinch of salt and toasted sesame oil to eliminate the even the slightest fish smell.
For all the curry ingredients, remove skin and cut them into small chunks except for the chillies. Use scissors to cut the chillies in small pieces. Avoid contact with the chilli seeds. Pound all the ingredients using the mortar and pestle till it forms a moist, bright orange paste.
Boil 3 cups water in a small pot to blanch mushrooms, corn and asparagus for 1 minute. Drain water, and set the ingredients aside.
Using the same pot, boil 1.5 litres water, cook soba for 3-4 minutes, it should be slightly undercooked. Drain and cool soba in a bowl of cold water.
Pour oil into a pre-heated stock pot over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of curry paste and cook for 3 minutes till fragrant. Add another ½ tbsp of curry paste for extra spiciness.
Pour coconut cream and stir in with the paste continuously for 4 minutes. Add palm sugar, lemongrass and ½ portion of kaffir lime leaves, continue to stir for 3 minutes.
Turn the heat up, add 1 litre hot water and red miso paste into the mixture. Stir for 1 minute. When it is rolling boil, add barramundi chunks and cook for 3-5 minutes, till they turned opaque white. Taste, and add extra red miso till your desired taste.
Assemble soba, mushrooms, corn and asparagus in two deep plates. Ladle hot red curry and barramundi over. Garnish with remaining lime leaves and chopped coriander.