Vitamin B3 (niacin)
… is the focus for this weeks Vitamin Rich post (for last week’s post on Vitamin B2 click here).
Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid and vitamin B3, also works as a coenzyme in the release of energy from nutrients. It lowers cholesterol, protects against cardiovascular disease and may be of benefit in diabetes.
Clinical evidence of niacin deficiency includes fatigue, poor appetite, diarrhoea, irritability, headache, emotional instability and possible memory loss. Pellagra is the clinical manifestation of advanced niacin deficiency that is characterized by dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhoea. Niacin deficiency rarely occurs without accompanying riboflavin deficiency. Pyridoxine deficiency may also be present.
The best sources of niacin are…
Canned tuna and salmon
Whole grain and enriched cereals
Peanuts, peanut butter
Vita-Rich Recipe 6
Braised beancurd (tofu) casserole
6-8 dried Chinese mushrooms
175g/6oz baby corn
2 cakes fresh beancurd (firm tofu) or 100g/4oz deep-fried beancurd
600ml/1 pint vegetable oil
a few small slices of peeled ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry (optional)
2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce or light soy
2 tsp cornflour paste
a few drops sesame oil
1. Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 25-30 minutes. Squeeze dry, discard the hard stalks and cut into two or three pieces if large, leave whole if small. Reserve the water in which the mushrooms have been soaked.
2. Wash the broccoli and discard any tough outer leaves, cut the stalks diagonally into short sections. Cut the baby corn lengthways in half. Blanch the broccoli and baby corn in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for about 2 minutes, remove and rinse in fresh cold water. Drain well.
3. Cut each cake of the fresh beancurd into about 12 pieces. Heat the oil in a pre-heated wok and deep-fry the beancurd pieces for 3-4 minutes until golden; remove and drain.
4. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a pre-heated wok, add the ginger pieces followed by the mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn and beancurd, stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add salt, sugar, wine (if using) and the mushroom soaking water, blend well and bring to the boil.
5. Add the oyster sauce, stir and braise for another minute; thicken the gravy with the cornflour paste, then add the sesame oil and serve. Serve with plain rice or as a ‘dressing’ for noodles.
Come back soon for a recipe rich in Vitamin B5.