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liuzhou

Chinese Vegetables Illustrated

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3 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I've never noticed any caffeine kick. If it is present, it is probably mitigated more by the amount of alcohol consumed at banquets where the dishes are served.

 

But even when I've cooked with it at home, alcohol free, I haven't noticed any signs.  It may be the cooking's effect, but I don't know the science involved.

 

Sorry. Pretty unhelpful answer.

Given that I've never thought of doing anything other than drinking the beverage resulting from steeping the dried leaves, it's still kind of blown my mind.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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The Burmese do a fermentd tea leaf salad - lahpet thoke.  Jitlada, a Los Angeles restaurant specializing in southern Thai food, often written up by the late, great Jonathan Gold, uses tea leaves in  a number of dishes. Perhaps in tea producing countries the use of tea leaves, as with other bounty in a region, is used in many ways. 


Edited by heidih (log)
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  Some more familiar items. First:

 

kholrabi1.thumb.jpg.eb6234ad248c7888951e0ad939476d3f.jpg

 

Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)

 

Kholrabi.

 

芥兰头/芥蘭頭 (Mand: jiè lán tóu; Cant: gaai3 laan4*2 tau4) or 苤蓝/苤藍 (Mand: pǐ lán)

 

This is mainly sliced thinly and used in hot pots, where it is valued for retaining its crisp texture. It is also cut into batons and stir fried. And it's pickled.

 

kholrabi2.thumb.jpg.9e5173f73972e4b7f249061b7d0b736d.jpg

 

 

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Brassica oleracea var. italica

 

Western Broccoli.

 

broccoli.jpg

 

西兰花/西蘭花 (Mand: xī lán huā; Cant: sai1 laan4 faa1)

 

Although not a "Chinese" vegetable, it is available in China. In fact, China is the world's largest producer. However, it is nowhere as popular as may be suggested by its use in western Chinese restaurants. That old favourite, beef and broccoli is rare here. A few years back a Dutch plumber decided to open a bar/restaurant in town. The  only vegetable he ever served was over-cooked western broccoli. He didn't last long.

 

Usually stir-fried.

 

Not my favourite vegetable.

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I am not so keen on the florets but I really like the stalks.

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China is also the top producer of Brassica oleracea Botrytis, the cauliflower.

 

cauliflower.thumb.jpg.149c4203751acfbba0632ef3d9432209.jpg

 

The most common Chinese name is 菜花 (Mand: cài huā; Cant: coi3 faa1), meaning 'vegetable flower', but as this name is also used to mean the rape plant mentioned a few pages back, to be specific, cauliflower is sometimes called 椰菜花  (Mand: yé cài huā; Cant: je4 coi3 faa1), meaning 'coconut vegetable flower', presumably a reference to the white head.

 

Like broccoli above , this is usually stir fried, especially with Chinese smoked ham or sausage.

 

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3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

  Some more familiar items. First:

 

kholrabi1.thumb.jpg.eb6234ad248c7888951e0ad939476d3f.jpg

 

Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group)

 

Kholrabi.

 

芥兰头/芥蘭頭 (Mand: jiè lán tóu; Cant: gaai3 laan4*2 tau4) or 苤蓝/苤藍 (Mand: pǐ lán)

 

This is mainly sliced thinly and used in hot pots, where it is valued for retaining its crisp texture. It is also cut into batons and stir fried. And it's pickled.

 

kholrabi2.thumb.jpg.9e5173f73972e4b7f249061b7d0b736d.jpg

 

 

 

 

I've grown Kholrabi.  Most attractive plant.  Still don't know how to eat it.

 

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Another couple of chilli peppers.

 

Although these look a bit similar to the 'beautiful people chillies' in this post, they are longer and identifiable by their crooked, knobbly nature.

 

275250812_bullhornchillies.thumb.jpg.63e547780baeeecdab78867dbe71b218.jpg

 

They are 牛角椒 (Mand: niú jiǎo jiāo; Cant: ngau4 gok3 ziu1) or 'Bullhorn peppers'

Taste and heat much the same as the 'beautiful people'.

 

 

 

 

 

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This one will need further investigation.

 

qingpaojiao.thumb.jpg.a2d15bf13ba577c5003ee9195a6a3c95.jpg

 

They were labelled 青泡椒 (Mand: qīng pào jiāo; Cant: cing1 pauu1 ziu1), which literally means 'green bubble pepper'. However, 泡椒 (Mand: pào jiāo; Cant: pauu1 ziu1) means 'pickled pepper'.

This specimen clearly wasn't pickled. It was fresh. Do they name it because of its bubble shape, or does it mean something like 'pickling pepper'?  Of course, before inflicting this predicament on you, I have asked around my more knowledgeable friends and she said "I don't know". Well actually, she said "不知道"  (Mand: bù zhī dào) which is the same thing. On account of her being Chinese.

 

They were small; around 2 inches/5cm at most in any direction. And HOT.

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I've grown Kholrabi.  Most attractive plant.  Still don't know how to eat it.

 

Kohlrabi is generally peeled and can be cooked like its relatives: cauliflower or broccoli stems. I really enjoy it cut paper thin, or into matchsticks, and tossed in salads. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a good crunch. (quite a bit less dense and crunchy than a carrot, though)

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1 hour ago, Lisa Shock said:

Kohlrabi is generally peeled and can be cooked like its relatives: cauliflower or broccoli stems. I really enjoy it cut paper thin, or into matchsticks, and tossed in salads. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a good crunch. (quite a bit less dense and crunchy than a carrot, though)

 

I like it raw in salads, too, but that is not a Chinese treatment. They don't generally do raw.

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This is technically algae, but used as a vegetable and it sure isn't animal or mineral, so I'm putting it here.

 

Seaweed in Chinese is 海藻 (Mand: hǎi zǎo; Cant: hoi2 zou2). It refers to all varieties, edible or not. Edible seaweed is 海菜 (Mand: hǎi cài; Cant: hoi2 coi3), literally meaning 'sea vegetable'. Told you it belongs here.

We get two main varieties, but in many different forms. First up:

 

海带/海帶 (Mand: hǎi dài; Cant: hoi2 daai3) is kelp.  It is also widely known as kombu, the Japanese term 昆布. China is by far the largest commercial producer.

 

We get it fresh, dried and pickled.

 

Fresh blades are sold, but they are also served cut into thick and thin slices.

 

234607572_kelpblades.thumb.jpg.238ff3680d125b2869f0cf461dab884b.jpg

Kelp Blades

 

636143707_thickstrips.thumb.jpg.e91bad5d0b824de4c8fa6d65fd62be99.jpg

Thick Strips

 

20181019_155817.thumb.jpg.2ba29bb054ef5cb0121f9fa50dcbc665.jpg

Thin strips.

 

It is also common to see it as 海带结/海帶結 (Mand: hǎi dài jié; Cant: hoi2 daai3 git3), kelp knots.

1798805395_kelpknots.thumb.jpg.caa6792842764da65d97b938b1910db5.jpg

 

All the above formats are also available dried. I won't trouble you with images of each, but here is the dried whole blades.

 

557424972_Driedkombu.thumb.jpg.b822c58acb4f08508a8b25394270fb46.jpg

 

Many supermarkets also sell prepared "salads". Here are a couple.

 

419450984_kelpknotsalad.thumb.jpg.fcbe375b08873572e836a2ad1fee626a.jpg

Kelp Knot Salad

 

2083194482_seaweedsalad.thumb.jpg.9d92ca66adb7f9127e8a731b9c7ead85.jpg

Kelp Strip Salad

 

Finally, kelp is pickled. You can buy it loose or in these small bags as a snack. Flavoured with chilli.

 

533249254_pickledkelp.thumb.jpg.220fa15b75d2fc71d9e244ece558262c.jpg

 

The sushi counters in some of the local supermarkets also sell the Japanese sauce, ponzu, which is made from kelp.

 

119339645_kelpponzu.thumb.jpg.953b1b3ef78bd88cf99db8a659ad3783.jpg

 

Apart from the salads and pickles, kelp is mainly used in soups or stir fried as a vegetable. Fresh kelp should always be cooked as seaweeds often contain parasites.

 

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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The second seaweed we get is 紫菜 (Mand: zǐ cài; Cant: zi2 coi3), literally 'purple vegetable'.

 

This is Porphyra umbilicalis or laver. It turns up in all sorts of places, though we don't get it fresh. It comes in circular packs of dried weed like this:

 

zicai.thumb.jpg.dffd95951e6a8481929b398e7afd3660.jpg

 

laver2.thumb.jpg.82edbc37f20d1c5318db9b7d57882602.jpg

 

This is used in soup, often with seafood or with egg.

 

1608155055_Seaweedsoup.thumb.jpg.4fa2176fd07cded5268e8947e81a485d.jpg

Laver and egg soup

 

These soups are sold as instant soup mix everywhere.

 

1056185957_soupmix.thumb.jpg.34eedcffd9a31e642cb827c7c8974640.jpg

 

Processed using a technique similar to paper-making this becomes known as 海苔 (Mand: hǎi tái; Cant: hoi2 toi4), which sushi fans know of as nori, used for wrapping sushi rolls etc. It is used the same way here - yes, China loves sushi.

 

341626319_Driedseasonedseaweed.thumb.jpg.c208c8789ccdc0a9a43c193b438015eb.jpg

 

Nori style seaweed is also seasoned in various ways, often with soy sauce and sold as a snack item. Every supermarket and corner shop has it.

 

It also features in many other snack items.

 

pretz.thumb.jpg.261bcdd762ab6c5fef076fa4f973524a.jpg

 

and even Lay's make seaweed chips using it.

 

1725677006_LaysSeaweed.thumb.jpg.728adb0b3cfeb09bff61d2b061f97ca8.jpg

 

as does the maker of my favourite crackers to use with cheese.

 

2026656583_seaweedcrackers1.thumb.jpg.4c56dc39e227cd30935ca25a2be6681c.jpg

 

crakers.thumb.jpg.ece2ea2c2c8508271b8e75db56b6352e.jpg

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Roasted seaweed snacks are pretty common in our local supermarkets, they show up the in the Natural/Health food aisle, or the Asian food aisle. I like them, although some of the brands are quite greasy. Several years ago I was treated to a sushi lunch by my boss in NYC and we got a seaweed sampler platter as an appetizer/salad course, it's interesting to try the different textures. Hijiki is probably the one we see most often in our local Japanese restaurants (cold salad).

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Yes locally the Korean markets' dried seaweed aisles are vast and the regular cold cases as well as the panchan cold cases have a nice assortment. Many years ago I remember being intrigued by the pickled kelp in Alaska in one of the Time Life Foods of the World books. We can't harvest seaweed here - water too polluted :( Our local kelp beds have made a comeback at least for the sake of the marine critters.


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A couple of related strays

 

红薯 (Mand hóng shǔ; Cant: hung4 syu4).

 

Red potato.

 

1744429798_hongshu.thumb.jpg.36e2544e706a662e6ba3ae44a6206544.jpg

 

These are very popular, especially at this time of year and through the winter. They are often steamed with other root vegetables. Alternatively, there are dozens of guys like this, selling them roasted in the streets.

 

Corn and Red Potatoes.jpg

 

Then we have these.

 

2110307393_blackpotatoes2.thumb.jpg.0ca3359a44767c03bb54f5cd5e237b97.jpg

 

Known as 黑薯 (Mand hēi shǔ; Cant: hak1 syu4), meaning 'black potatoes' or, perhaps more accurately, 紫薯 (Mand zǐ shǔ; Cant: zi2 syu4), 'purple potatoes'. The skin can be purplish black, but the flesh is this bright purple, which fades when they are cooked.

 

They are used in the same manner as the red potatoes.

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Is the red potato what we here in the US know as a sweet potato? Looks like it...


Don't ask. Eat it.

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