Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

TheTInCook

Chinese Olive Kernels

Recommended Posts

How do I use these? Just like any other nut in chinese cooking? I've seen two types in the market, labeled as north and south. I've no idea what the difference is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
annachan   

I know apricot kernels are often labeled north and south, but no idea about olive kernels. Not really sure what olive kernels are....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

Chinese olives are usually used in hot pots, soups and stews.

GreenChineseolives.jpg

Even more often they are dried, salted and sold pre-packed as snacks in corner shops, much as we might snack on salted peanuts.

PreservedChineseolives.jpg

They are also made into a paste sold in jars in many supermarkets (particularly in the south of China) and used in Cantonese style stir fries.

Olivepaste-1.jpg

As to the difference between 'north' and 'south', I've been trying to get a definitive answer to this for a long time. Most of my Chinese friends are adamant that there is a difference, but when asked to elaborate on that, they tend to glaze over and mumble. Interrogating the market stall vendors got me nowhere either.

I very recently wrote about them on my blog and was kindly informed (once again) that there are two kinds from opposite polarities. When I asked for elucidation, everything went quiet. While typing this, I have asked two local food professionals who have confirmed the duality, but when asked to explain suddenly discovered they were incredibly busy. :sad:

My suspicion is that this is a carry-over from north-south apricots, although I've never had a satisfactory answer about that,either. Some people here aren't sure of the difference between apricot kernels and Chinese olive kernels. Including me!

If I ever get an answer, I'll let you know.

Not really sure what olive kernels are....

It is important to note that 'Chinese olives' aren't olives as in the Mediterranean olive. They are a totally different species and have a totally different taste and texture. They are the fruit of an evergreen tropical tree native to SE Asia, India and Africa. The scientific name is Canarium album as opposed to the European olive which is Olea europaea.

I love 'real' olives; I wouldn't be unhappy if I never saw a Chinese one again!

I don' t mind the paste mentioned above.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info and your blog, Liuzhou.

I didn't notice any in the fresh, dried, or paste form at the market. They only had the dry split kernels for sale, kind of looking like split blanched almonds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

They only had the dry split kernels for sale, kind of looking like split blanched almonds.

Yes we sometimes get them that way here, too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will   

I've seen the kernels used as charcoal (which is great, by the way), but hadn't noticed them as snacks. I'll keep an eye out.

I have had the sweet Chinese olive snacks before. They're definitely very different from the normal Western olive preparations. I can't say I'm a huge fan, but I definitely recommend trying them if you get the chance (most Chinese markets seem to carry them).

The olive pit charcoal is hard to light, but has almost no smoke and a pleasant and mild scent. It's traditionally used in the Chaozhou / Shantou area for heating water for tea under small clay kettles.


Edited by Will (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

They are also divided into “chicken olives” and “cattle olives”, but an explanation is, as yet, unavailable. If I ever get it, you will be next to hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

Regarding the "chicken olives" and "cattle olives", I have, at last, found an explanation. It is here in Chinese.

To summarise, the "chicken variety" are from a smaller, short branched less vigorous strain of tree with yellow leaves. The fruit is yellow and slightly pointed in shape, weighing 6-8g with pale yellow flesh but little juice..

The "cattle variety" is from a more robust tree with dark green leaves and thick branches. The fruit is larger, weighing 12-15g and more juicy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
    • By liuzhou
      I’m an idiot. It’s official.
       
      A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
       
      So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
       
      First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.

      Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
       

       
      Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
       
      The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
       

       
      These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine,  they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
       
      If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By Soul_Venom
      The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×