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 a free account.

Chinese Greens


 Share

Recommended Posts

i have passing familiarity with a few Chinese/Asian greens--Napa cabbage (bok choy?), Chinese broccoli, pak choy, etc., but today was the first time i saw and bought these. what are they called?

(excuse my newbie-ness with re: to Chinese greens. :smile: )

i9283.jpg

here's the seasoning i used to stir-fry them, from L to R, salt, sesame oil, black sesame, red miso paste, hoisin sauce, pepper-garlic paste (from Sweden!?), garlic...

i9286.jpg

and here's me adding a small amount of Szechuan pepppercorn, because i wrecked food with this once :laugh: :

i9284.jpg

...and the finished dish, with fried tofu and a Sapporo beer. this is one of my favourite saturday night meals. :wub:

i9282.jpg

so are there any online illustrated Chinese greens sites?

what do you do with Chinese greens?

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one on the left looks like Choy Sum and on the right, one of the Shanghai bok choy cabages.

Take a look at this site:

http://www.nre.vic.gov.au/trade/asiaveg/thes-00.htm

Look at "White Flowering Cabbage", and 'Shanghai Flowering Chard'.

When it says 'white flowering' it doesn't mean that the flowers are white, but rather that it is a white cabbage with flowers. Choy Sum has yellow flowers -- as compared with Chinese broccoli which has white ones.

I, myself, like greens with just garlic and a dash of oyster sauce.

Have you ever tried toasting the Sichuan Pepper in a dry pan, until they are toasted and just beginning to smoke?? Bring out a wonderful flavor.

Is that an iron wok you are using?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, myself, like greens with just garlic and a dash of oyster sauce.

Ditto. When I buy those, that's the way I cook them. Very quickly stir fried. And then add fried egg tofu.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jo-Mel is right, the one on the right is "Shanghai Bok Choy", a.k.a. qing cai. It's an everyday vegetable in Shanghai. Usually it's not chopped as small as you did, and it's usually braised with nothing else save oil and seasoning (though the small ones are sometimes used as a garnish for dishes like "lion's head" meatballs).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto what everyone else said about types and preparation. These two veggies in particular require only basic, minimum preparation and seasoning, otherwise distracts from their delicacy. That means absolutley no spices at all, only soy or oyster sauce, oil and garlic for me. Miso? :huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one on the left looks like Choy Sum and on the right, one of the Shanghai bok choy cabages.

The one on the left should be Bok Choy ( 白菜 ), not Choy Sum. I am from Hong Kong and at least that's what they are called in Hong Kong.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In North America, bok choy are much, much larger. The white leaf stalks are sometimes 2-3 inches across at the base and sometimes they are a foot or more long. What you see pictured is what we would call choy sum on these shore. I come from a long line of peasant stock who worked the fields of Toysan , everyone of my relatives would agree with me :rolleyes: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What you see pictured is what we would call choy sum on these shore.

I beg your pordon. You are right. I took a second look at the picture again. They do look like choy sum than bok choy. I was misled by the white color to lead to my conclusion. Bok choy's shape is rounder at the bottom.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I steam/parboil mine and then cover them in sesame oil. Yum!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

To simplify my question... What are some of the ways of cooking Chinese Green Vegetables that we get in the Chinese Stores?

Thanks!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One of the things I used to love in our local Chinatown was cooked Chinese Green Vegetables. I don't know how they made it, but somehow it had a great flavor and I could never match that at home. I guess they would add chicken stock, chicken fat or msg to enhance the flavors but it was more their cooking style that would bring out the essential flavors of the leafy greens. I guess the Chinese word for one of the flavors I am referring to is xiānwèi (the 6th savory taste, which is also associated with chicken stock, msg, meats mushrooms, soy products and others). My question is which Chinese Green vegetables have more savory taste in them and what is the best way to cook them? I cook all kinds of greens at home... bok choy, baby choy, choy sum, Chinese Broccoli, regular broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, water spinach, Mustard Greens... and there are tons more available in our local Chinese stores. Could you also please suggest some good recipes to cook these vegetables, even if these recipes are as simple as blanching them in water?

Thanks a lot!

Edited by ash123 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The way I cook most of my greens is stir fry with some garlic.

Pretty simple,heat the wok and oil,once the oil smokes add the miced /smashed garlic and then add the greens.I normally cover and cook it and I never add water or stock.

My personal fave greens are yau choi,Bak choi,water spinach.

BTW ,at my fave local wonton joint,i always have a side order of greens.I think they blanch it in the wonton stock and serve it with oyster sauce.

Edited by warlockdilemma (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW ,at my fave local wonton joint,i always have a side order of greens.I think they blanch it in the wonton stock and serve it with oyster sauce.

Most of the wonton counters that I have seen have a big pot of boiling water and a smaller pot of broth on the side. I think they blanch the vegetables in boiling water, as they do with noodles. If you cook vegetables in the broth, it would introduce the "green" taste in the broth and I don't think that's desirable.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW ,at my fave local wonton joint,i always have a side order of greens.I think they blanch it in the wonton stock and serve it with oyster sauce.

Most of the wonton counters that I have seen have a big pot of boiling water and a smaller pot of broth on the side. I think they blanch the vegetables in boiling water, as they do with noodles. If you cook vegetables in the broth, it would introduce the "green" taste in the broth and I don't think that's desirable.

I usually eat veggies either boiled or stir fried with garlic, but recently I've been eating spinach in sort of a quick soup, with stock, a couple straw mushrooms, a couple slices of carrot, some ground pork and some garlic. Tasty, and it goes very well with rice. You can have the soup afterwards. Sort of like two meals in one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW ,at my fave local wonton joint,i always have a side order of greens.I think they blanch it in the wonton stock and serve it with oyster sauce.

Most of the wonton counters that I have seen have a big pot of boiling water and a smaller pot of broth on the side. I think they blanch the vegetables in boiling water, as they do with noodles. If you cook vegetables in the broth, it would introduce the "green" taste in the broth and I don't think that's desirable.

Ah Leung Kuo, you are right.I think they blanch it and then add some hot oil over it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I blanch watercress then pour sesame oil and soy sauce over it.

Everything else I stir-fry in garlic (with the exception of ong choy and amaranth and the like, which I stir-fry in fermented dofu). I heat up the wok pretty high first, though, which helps with the wok-hay flavor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do green two way mainly.

Washing greens and dry well (I use a salad spinner).

Cast iron pan scorching hot. quickly toss the greens. then add garlic. I then add blk pepper and soy or go with oyster sauce. Come out pretty good.

I also toss in the stemmy parts first (about 30 seconds) then add the leafy parts. Help cook them evenly.

I get what every leaf green chinese veggies are on sale or look the freshest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another way you can add flavour to a quick stir-fry veg...is to add 2 cubes of nam yue (fermented tofu cubes). But, if I do that, I use sliced small shallots instead of garlic so as not to overpower the nam yue taste. No need to add salt...the nam yue is salty enough.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another way you can add flavour to a quick stir-fry veg...is to add 2 cubes of nam yue (fermented tofu cubes). But, if I do that, I use sliced small shallots instead of garlic so as not to overpower the nam yue taste. No need to add salt...the nam yue is salty enough.

Hey! Tepee MuiMui: Good to see you. :biggrin:

I usually add fu yue to quick stir-fry spinach, or really young bak choi (from thining out rows in the garden). May have to try nam yue next time!

Got some peashoots, and I'll just stir-fry with garlic and drizzle sesame oil at the table.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i also usually just stir fry greens with garlic and a pinch of salt. my mom will stir fry vegetables with some dried shrimp for some extra flavor. my aunt stir fries bok choy and other veggies with a small piece broken off of a ham boullion cube (let it dissolve when you add the touch of water to steam fry). it's really good... but really it's just he msg. no need to add salt if you do that. very very tasty.

water/swamp spinach (kong xin tsai) stir fried with fermented tofu is a classid dish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to add a dollop of oyster sauce when I saute (in canola oil) baby bok choy with garlic, and maybe a dash of shaoxing rice wine too. I usually blanch the bok choy in boiling water first to make it more tender. When I saute snow pea shoots or leaves I just use the garlic, oil and wine and I don't blanch them. Salt and pepper to taste of course.

Edited by jeanki (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed quite a few ingredients can be added to the Chinese green stir-fries.

1. They add flavor

2. They add a different texture

The basics are garlic and salt. (Though from all the dishes I had, I don't think I had tasted one with "black pepper" or "white pepper" as in "typical salt and pepper" in Chinese green stir-fries - except in those stir-fries specifically feature black pepper (beef/chicken/bell-pepper/onion). )

Depending on the vegetable... sometimes you can add shallots, onion, ginger and other "aromatic" to enhance the flavor (e.g. string beans). And even slices of chili peppers (e.g. Tung-choy)

The following ingredients can be added (in small amount typically) to make Chinese green stir-fries:

- dried shrimp (e.g. string beans, Chinese cabbage, mustard green)

- minced pork

- dried oyster (soak and chop in fine dices)

- lap cheung (Chinese sausages, chop in fine dices)

- lap yuk (Chinese cured bacon, chop in fine dices)

- yunnan ham (cut into small shreds)

- ham yu (Chinese salted fish, chop in fine dices)

The following sauces can be added:

- shrimp paste (e.g. tung-choy)

- foo yu (fermented bean curds, e.g. making tung-choy or bitter melon)

- nam yu (red fermented bean curds, e.g. making lotus roots, Chinese cabbage or winter melon)

- Sa Cha sauce (e.g. making string beans)

- oyster sauce (just about any Chinese vegetable)

- brown bean sauce (e.g. making string beans)

- dark soy sauce mixed with superior broth and corn starch

To cook a vegetable "feast" (a fancy word for "combination"), besides mixing vegetables you may add:

- mung bean threads (soaked in water first)

- reconstituted black mushrooms

- reconstituted Lily buds

- reconstituted "wood ear" fungi

- reconstituted "cloud ear" fungi

- reconstituted white fungi

- ginkgo nuts

- bamboo pith (soaked in water first)

The combination can be endless...

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Way back in the 1990’s, I was living in west Hunan, a truly beautiful part of China. One day, some colleagues suggested we all go for lunch the next day, a Saturday. Seemed reasonable to me. I like a bit of lunch.
       
      “OK. We’ll pick you up at 7 am.”
       
      “Excuse me? 7 am for lunch?
       
      “Yes. We have to go by car.”
       
      Well, of course, they finally picked me up at 8.30, drove in circles for an hour trying to find the guy who knew the way, then headed off into the wilds of Hunan. We drove for hours, but the scenery was beautiful, and the thousand foot drops at the side of the crash barrier free road as we headed up the mountains certainly kept me awake.
       
      After an eternity of bad driving along hair-raising roads which had this old atheist praying, we stopped at a run down shack in the middle of nowhere. I assumed that this was a temporary stop because the driver needed to cop a urination or something, but no. This was our lunch venue.
       
      We shuffled into one of the two rooms the shack consisted of and I distinctly remember that one of my hosts took charge of the lunch ordering process.
       
      “We want lunch for eight.” There was no menu.
       
      The waitress, who was also the cook, scuttled away to the other room of the shack which was apparently a kitchen.
       
      We sat there for a while discussing the shocking rise in bean sprout prices and other matters of national importance, then the first dish turned up. A pile of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies. It was delicious.
       
      “What is this meat?” I asked.
       
      About half of the party spoke some English, but my Chinese was even worse than it is now, so communications weren’t all they could be. There was a brief (by Chinese standards) meeting and they announced:
       
      “It’s wild animal.”
       
      Over the next hour or so, several other dishes arrived. They were all piles of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies, but the sauces and vegetable accompaniments varied. And all were very, very good indeed.
       
      “What’s this one?” I ventured.
       
      “A different wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “Another wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “A wild animal which is not the wild animal in the other dishes”
       
      I wandered off to the kitchen, as you can do in rural Chinese restaurants, and inspected the contents of their larder, fridge, etc. No clues.
       
      I returned to the table with a bit of an idea.
       
      “Please write down the Chinese names of all these animals we have eaten. I will look in my dictionary when I get home.”
       
      They looked at each other, consulted, argued and finally announced:
       
      “Sorry! We don’t know in Chinese either. “
       
      Whether that was true or just a way to get out of telling me what I had eaten, I’ll never know. I certainly wouldn’t be able to find the restaurant again.
       
      This all took place way back in the days before digital cameras, so I have no illustrations from that particular meal. But I’m guessing one of the dishes was bamboo rat.
       
      No pandas or tigers were injured in the making of this post
       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      It sometimes seems likes every town in China has its own special take on noodles. Here in Liuzhou, Guangxi the local dish is Luosifen (螺蛳粉 luó sī fěn).
       
      It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative. Luosifen is only really eaten in small restaurants and roadside stalls. I've never heard of anyone making it at home.
       
      In order to promote tourism to the city, the local government organised a food festival featuring an event named "10,000 people eat luosifen together." (In Chinese 10,000 often just means "many".)
       
      10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.
       

       
      The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.
       

       
      Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot water, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”
       

       
      Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.
       

       
      Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.
       

      Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.
       

      Whole roast lamb or roast chicken
       

      Lamb Kebabs
       

      Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG
       

      Kebab stall
       

      Crab
       

      Different crab
       

      Sweet sticky rice balls
       

      Things on sticks
       

      Grilled scorpions
       

      Pig bones and bits
       

      Snails
       
      And much more.
       
      To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Chinese food must be among the most famous in the world. Yet, at the same time, the most misunderstood.

      I feel sure (hope) that most people here know that American-Chinese cuisine, British-Chinese cuisine, Indian-Chinese cuisine etc are, in huge ways, very different from Chinese-Chinese cuisine and each other. That's not what I want to discuss.

      Yet, every day I still come across utter nonsense on YouTube videos and Facebook about the "real" Chinese cuisine, even from ethnically Chinese people (who have often never been in China). Sorry YouTube "influencers", but sprinkling soy sauce or 5-spice powder on your cornflakes does not make them Chinese!
       
      So what is the "authentic" Chinese food? Well, like any question about China, there are several answers. It is not surprising that a country larger than western Europe should have more than one typical culinary style. Then, we must distinguish between what you may be served in a large hotel dining room, a small local restaurant, a street market stall or in a Chinese family's home.

      That said, in this topic, I want to attempt to debunk some of the more prevalent myths. Not trying to start World War III.

      When I moved to China from the UK 25 years ago, I had my preconceptions. They were all wrong. Sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice was reported to be the second favourite dish in Britain, and had, of course, to be preceded by a plate of prawn/shrimp crackers. All washed down with a lager or three.

      Yet, in that quarter of a century, I've seldom seen a prawn cracker. And egg fried rice is usually eaten as a quick dish on its own, not usually as an accompaniment to main courses. Every menu featured a starter of prawn/shrimp toast which I have never seen in mainland China - just once in Hong Kong.

      But first, one myth needs to be dispelled. The starving Chinese! When I was a child I was encouraged to eat the particularly nasty bits on the plate by being told that the starving Chinese would lap them up. My suggestion that we could post it to them never went down too well. At that time (the late fifties) there was indeed a terrible famine in China (almost entirely manmade (Maomade)).

      When I first arrived in China, it was after having lived in Soviet Russia and I expected to see the same long lines of people queuing up to buy nothing very much in particular. Instead, on my first visit to a market (in Hunan Province), I was confronted with a wider range of vegetables, seafood, meat and assorted unidentified frying objects than I have ever seen anywhere else. And it was so cheap I couldn't convert to UK pounds or any other useful currency.
       
      I'm going to start with some of the simpler issues - later it may get ugly!

      1. Chinese people eat everything with chopsticks.
       

       
      No, they don't! Most things, yes, but spoons are also commonly used in informal situations. I recently had lunch in a university canteen. It has various stations selling different items. I found myself by the fried rice stall and ordered some Yangzhou fried rice. Nearly all the students and faculty sitting near me were having the same.

      I was using my chopsticks to shovel the food in, when I noticed that I was the only one doing so. Everyone else was using spoons. On investigating, I was told that the lunch break is so short at only two-and-a-half hours that everyone wants to eat quickly and rush off for their compulsory siesta.
       
      I've also seen claims that people eat soup with chopsticks. Nonsense. While people use chopsticks to pick out choice morsels from the broth, they will drink the soup by lifting their bowl to their mouths like cups. They ain't dumb!

      Anyway, with that very mild beginning, I'll head off and think which on my long list will be next.

      Thanks to @KennethT for advice re American-Chinese food.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Your wish is my command! Sometimes! A lot of what I say here, I will have already said in scattered topics across the forums, but I guess it's useful to bring it all into one place.
       
      First, I want to say that China uses literally thousands of herbs. But not in their food. Most herbs are used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), often in their dried form. Some of the more common are sold in supermarkets, but more often in pharmacies or small specialist stores. I also often see people on the streets with baskets of unidentified greenery for sale - but not for dinner. The same applies to spices, although more spices are used in a culinary setting than are herbs.
       
      I’ll start with Sichuan peppercorns as these are what prompted @Tropicalsenior to suggest the topic.
       
      1. Sichuan Peppercorns
       
      Sichuan peppercorns are neither pepper nor, thank the heavens, c@rn! Nor are they necessarily from Sichuan. They are actually the seed husks of one of a number of small trees in the genus Zanthoxylum and are related to the citrus family.  The ‘Sichuan’ name in English comes from their copious use in Sichuan cuisine, but not necessarily where they are grown. Known in Chinese as 花椒 (huājiāo), literally ‘flower pepper’’, they are also known as ‘prickly ash’ and, less often, as ‘rattan pepper’.
      The most common variety used in China is 红花椒 (hóng huā jiāo) or red Sichuan peppercorn, but often these are from provinces other than Sichuan, especially Gansu, Sichuan’s northern neighbour. They are sold all over China and, ground, are a key ingredient in “five-spice powder” mixes. They are essential in many Sichuan dishes where they contribute their numbing effect to Sichuan’s 麻辣 (má là), so-called ‘hot and numbing’ flavour. Actually the Chinese is ‘numbing and hot’. I’ve no idea why the order is reversed in translation, but it happens a lot – ‘hot and sour’ is actually ‘sour and hot’ in Chinese!
       
      The peppercorns are essential in dishes such as 麻婆豆腐 (má pó dòu fǔ) mapo tofu, 宫保鸡丁 (gōng bǎo jī dīng) Kung-po chicken, etc. They are also used in other Chinese regional cuisines, such as Hunan and Guizhou cuisines.

      Red Sichuan peppercorns can come from a number of Zanthoxylum varieties including Zanthoxylum simulans, Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Zanthoxylum schinifolium, etc.
       

      Red Sichuan Peppercorns
       
      Another, less common, variety is 青花椒 (qīng huā jiāo) green Sichuan peppercorn, Zanthoxylum armatum. These are also known as 藤椒 (téng jiāo). This grows all over Asia, from Pakistan to Japan and down to the countries of SE Asia. This variety is significantly more floral in taste and, at its freshest, smells strongly of lime peel. These are often used with fish, rabbit, frog etc. Unlike red peppercorns (usually), the green variety are often used in their un-dried state, but not often outside Sichuan.
       

      Green Sichuan Peppercorns
       

      Fresh Green Sichuan Peppercorns

      I strongly recommend NOT buying Sichuan peppercorns in supermarkets outside China. They lose their scent, flavour and numbing quality very rapidly. There are much better examples available on sale online. I have heard good things about The Mala Market in the USA, for example.

      I buy mine in small 30 gram / 1oz bags from a high turnover vendor. And that might last me a week. It’s better for me to restock regularly than to use stale peppercorns.

      Both red and green peppercorns are used in the preparation of flavouring oils, often labelled in English as 'Prickly Ash Oil'. 花椒油 (huā jiāo yóu) or 藤椒油 (téng jiāo yóu).
       

       
      The tree's leaves are also used in some dishes in Sichuan, but I've never seen them out of the provinces where they grow.
       
      A note on my use of ‘Sichuan’ rather than ‘Szechuan’.
       
      If you ever find yourself in Sichuan, don’t refer to the place as ‘Szechuan’. No one will have any idea what you mean!

      ‘Szechuan’ is the almost prehistoric transliteration of 四川, using the long discredited Wade-Giles romanization system. Thomas Wade was a British diplomat who spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. After retiring as a diplomat, he was elected to the post of professor of Chinese at Cambridge University, becoming the first to hold that post. He had, however, no training in theoretical linguistics. Herbert Giles was his replacement. He (also a diplomat rather than an academic) completed a romanization system begun by Wade. This became popular in the late 19th century, mainly, I suggest, because there was no other!

      Unfortunately, both seem to have been a little hard of hearing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked why the Chinese changed the name of their capital from Peking to Beijing. In fact, the name didn’t change at all. It had always been pronounced with /b/ rather than /p/ and /ʤ/ rather than /k/. The only thing which changed was the writing system.

      In 1958, China adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization, not to help dumb foreigners like me, but to help lower China’s historically high illiteracy rate. It worked very well indeed, Today, it is used in primary schools and in some shop or road signs etc., although street signs seldom, if ever, include the necessary tone markers without which it isn't very helpful.
       

      A local shopping mall. The correct pinyin (with tone markers) is 'dōng dū bǎi huò'.
       
      But pinyin's main use today is as the most popular input system for writing Chinese characters on computers and cell-phones. I use it in this way every day, as do most people. It is simpler and more accurate than older romanizations. I learned it in one afternoon.  I doubt anyone could have done that with Wade-Giles.
       
      Pinyin has been recognised for over 30 years as the official romanization by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the United Nations and, believe it or not, The United States of America, along with many others. Despite this recognition, old romanizations linger on, especially in America. Very few people in China know any other than pinyin. 四川 is  'sì chuān' in pinyin.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...