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Wolfberries (Goji Berries) and Food Photography Tips

Wolfberries / Goji Berries (枸杞)

Do  you know wolfberries/goji berries or 枸杞 in Chinese? Have you cooked anything with them?

Lately, dried wolfberries/goji berries have become my favorite ingredient-du-jour. I add them to my savory soup and stew, braised claypot dishes, and Bak Kut Teh (pork bone tea soup).

Highly renowned in Chinese cuisine as an ingredient with great healing powers (improving eyesight and immune system), nutrient richness, and antioxidant qualities (meaning you need to stock them up in piles to remain forever young!), wolfberries/goji berries lend a nice sweet (甘味) flavor to dishes, especially to pork and poultry…

I am going to share two recipes with you using wolfberries/goji berries soon…for now, please click here to learn more about this ingredient.

On a totally unrelated–but useful–note, I published a lengthy article about my tips and tricks to taking drool-inducing food photography at Dining Hall. Go read about it, and I bet you will be on your way to taking gorgeous food pictures with my exclusive article.

Anyway, if you are a lazy reader (like I am), I have put together a cheat sheet for you below:

Rasa Malaysia’s Cheat Sheet to Taking Fabulous Food Photography:

1. Use white serving ware and do some food styling.
2. Never use flash even though it’s dark.
3. Use Macro mode if you have a point-and-shoot camera.
4. Post processing with photo editing software such as Photoshop.
5. Tripod is not necessary. (If you don’t have a tripod, it’s OK.)
6. Consider investing in a DSLR camera.
7. Natural Lighting is the secret ingredient to fab food photography.
8. Minimalist props so your readers are drawn to your food.
9. Experiment with lots of shots.
10. Find your favorite style and mimic it.

My sister-in-blog Steamy Kitchen will be writing up a food styling guide soon. So, please be on the lookout.To find out what I use, my gear and lenses, please click here.

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24 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Mansi Desai

    I’ve heard about these due to their high antioxidant values…Are they similar to Acai berries? they look colorful:)

  2. eatingplum

    You know, I grew up eating these as a kid. My mom would boil them to death in these chinese stews which I never liked much. I’d be curious what kind of recipes you’re going to share!

  3. Zen Chef

    Oh I saw some the other day at the store thinking ‘What the heck am I going to do with those?’
    Thanks a bunch for this post. I think the timing is just right for me to learn something new! :-)

  4. Katie

    I’ve been following your blog quite a bit, and I really adore it! Wolfberries are extremely popular in my family. We normally put them in those “healing” soups that take several hours to cook. I love ’em.

  5. Lydia

    I’ve heard of these but never tried them. Can’t wait to see your recipes — I think there’s a trip to my local Asian grocery in the near future!

  6. hochiak

    They are highly versatile. Though they may taste mild on its own, they do change the overall taste of the dish one cooks. I sometimes add them to vege stir fries (especially spinach) and also use them when steaming chicken :D

  7. Ellie

    I have to admit that I’ve a bit of a problem with point 6 – while a dSLR camera does take much better photos than point-and-shoots, I’d think that the most important thing is to learn the basics of photography and how to use your equipment, investment of upwards of $1000 into equipment is not going to automatically make your photography fabulous.

  8. "Joe" who is constantly craving

    i totally agree with ur thats y its so much harder to take photos of ur quality when we eat outside with plates all over in the table..

  9. wmw

    Oh I love to have my honey wolfberries drink. The wolfberries would be soaked in honey and when I bite into them, the honey would ooze out. I wonder how long they have to be soaked though.

  10. noobcook

    your photography (and cooking) is just excellento and I have so much to learn! I’m striving to take better pictures :P

    yeah I also like to add a small amount of wolfberries to my dishes for the colour and variety :D

  11. Christy

    I love wolfberries!!
    Raw or cooked, they are really a delicacy and healthy too!!:D
    I am sure you have heard of their association with good eyesight?;)

  12. Aimei

    Thanks for your great tips! My house is often dark and not close to any natural lighting. If I have to, that’ll be on the floor near the door entrance. I do not have any nice background. There’s usually things on my table. Any tips to getting a totally white and bright, clear background like what you have?

  13. Rasa Malaysia

    Mansi Desai – I am not familiar with Acai berries…what are they?

    Eating Plum – I have posted my recipe, check it out.

    Zen Chef – It’s always nice to experiment with new ingredients. Good luck. :)

    Katie – thanks for your nice word and thanks for leaving me a comment…now I know you. :)

    Lydia – do take a trip to any Asian grocery stores, you will find new ingredients for your Perfect Pantry. ;)

    Hochiak – I agree…steaming chicken with wolfberries are a wonderful idea!

    Elliw – my camera is not $1000, actually it’s about $500. Of course, one shouldn’t invest in a DLSR just because of having a food blog. To me, it’s an investment to capture moments, and capture memories–be it food, travel, people, or anything. However I have to say that even an inexperienced photographer can take pretty good nowadays with a good DLSR…;)

    Joe–that’s one of the reasons why I almost never bring my camera to restaurants, unless I travel to a new place.

    Ling – cool…I am great to offer any help possible.

    Veron – you already take great food photography…you do not need any tips or cheat sheet. Hehe.

    Happy Cook – they are native to China, you should check them out. :)

    WMW – yes, yes, those in tong sui…yummy!

    Noobcook – Thanks for your sweet comment. You’re so nice. :)

    Christy – yes my late grandmother always told me, eat these more and your eyes will be bright and sharp. LOL.

    MyF – cool. I am going to check your blog out for the post.

    Aimei – just go to any stationary or office stores and get yourself some white paper cardboard. That’s it. That’s my secret. ;)

  14. Nilmandra

    I love wolfberries and grew up with them in Chinese herbal soups and in stews. My mum also puts them with steamed chicken pieces along with herbs like dang gui and red dates (and seasoning) for herbal steamed chicken. Speaking of which I should make that again soon… Thanks for the idea and looking forward to your recipes.

  15. Aimei

    Thanks so much! How should I place the card board? Directly behind? How about the base if I want it to be white as well? Just prepare 2 card board for base and background?

  16. SuperOreoGirl

    hello! nice blog! made me very hungry reading your blog! i saw your pork ribs and lotus root recipe. it’s a favourite in my family. my mom would add wolfberries to the soup too. it adds sweetness …. yum yum! and thanks for all the recipes. it’ll help me alot of good when i have to move to the US. :D

  17. branquear dentes em casa

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a
    blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

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