What is that suspicious white substance on the spoon, you ask? No, it isn’t something illicit purchased way downtown, in the industrial zone–it’s kuzu (or kudzu). A quick Google search will tell you that it’s a plant that grows well–too well, in fact, as it’s also referred to as “mile-a-minute vine, foot-a-night vine, and the vine that ate the South”. While the plant is deemed an invasive pest to some, others know it as a valuable medicinal ingredient. For centuries, the Japanese and Chinese have used its root starch in a variety of medications and dishes as a thickening agent. Amazingly, the ailments that kuzu is purported to treat span the spectrum–quelling alcohol cravings, supporting the liver, relieving headaches, stomachaches, fevers, post menopausal symptoms, lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol, in addition to having calming properties…erm, anyone know any hyperactive children?
One of my favorite recipes that utilizes this miraculous ingredient is Kuzu Apple Pudding. It’s a recipe I learned during my training at the Natural Gourmet Institute and love to make when I’m feeling a little too high-strung or have an upset stomach. On many occasions, I’ve made it based on the mere fact that it just makes a really easy, satisfying dessert. Frankly, when a remedy tastes like apple pie filling it’s impossible for me to pass it up.
Kuzu Apple Pudding
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons kuzu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
1. Dissolve kuzu in apple juice with extract until well mixed.
2. Heat mixture in a saucepan over medium flame, whisking constantly.
3. Liquid will thicken and turn from cloudy to clear.
4. Serve warm or cold
What are some of your favorite remedies?