2Prepared for students in Ethnobotany in China, a Study Abroad course at Eastern Illinois University taught by Gordon C. Tucker and Zhiwei Liu
3Chinese VegetablesPart 2Asteraceae through Mushrooms
4Asteraceae Includes artichoke, lettuce, thistle, and sunflower Also several Asian vegetables and herbs, such as safflower and burdock4
5Chrysanthemum greens Chrysanthemum coronarium Mandarin: Tong hao cai Cantonese: Tong ho choyUsed as an herbal medicine and as a cooked vegetable combined with other vegetables and in various stir-fried dishes.An annual eaten at the seedling stage when it is not more than 20 cm high. Leaves are succulent with a light silvery tinge and broadly serrated edges. The related species, C. cinerariifolium is the source of insecticide powder.5
6Lettuce, Lactuca sativa Lettuce is an ancient species.The wild ancestors are not known with certainty; Lactuca serriola is a possibility.Cultivated before 4500 B.C. in Egypt.The Romans ate tossed salads with leafy lettuces.
7Sheng-cai (生菜, Lettuce) On important days such as Chinese New Year in January or February, many families have Sheng-cais at their celebration dinners and bundle them with red strings to honor their ancestors.Why? Because Sheng-cai vegetable is pronounced the same as "making money" in Chinese. Therefore it is considered a symbol of hopeful goodwill and fortune for Chinese people.Chinese cultivars of lettuce resembleRomaine lettuce, rather than leaf or iceberg7
8Celtuce 莴苣 Chinese Lettuce Stem Lettuce Asparagus Lettuce woh sun Edible stalk lettuceMuch of China's crop goes into Shanghai pickles, called "lettuce pickles" in Chinese groceries.8
9Celtuce 莴苣 Stem Lettuce One of several cultivars grown in China Vegetable Market in Jishou, Hunan9
10Solanaceae • Nightshade Family tomatoespotatoeschili peppersgoji berrieseggplant10
11Tomatoes Yes, the Chinese eat tomatoes large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are commonthey are eaten fresh or used in sauces or stir-fryTomatoes in a vegetable market in Jishou, Hunan11
12Potato Solanum tuberosum Solanaceae native to South Americaintroduced to China in the late 1500’sChina is now the world’s largest producer of potatoespotatoes are most often shredded or sliced and used in stir fries
13Potatoes with long beans, green beans, carrots, eggplants, melons, and other local vegetables, at a market in Jishou, Hunan Province
14Eggplants native to India widely cultivated in China most often used in stir fries14
16Red pepper Capsicum species cayenne and chili peppers (hot)pimiento and bell peppers (mild)native to South America, cultivated for at least 6000 yearsintroduced to China in the 1500’s and so thoroughly incorporated in Chinese cuisine, that some people might think they were native to Asia!
17Hot Chili Peppers in a Vegetable Market in Hunan, China
18Sweet Peppers (Bell peppers) both red and green bell peppers are commonly used in stir fries in Chinausually they are mixed with other vegetables, occasionally served alone
19Cucurbitaceae -- Gourd Family Herbaceous vines with tendrils. Combine these features with a palmate pattern of leaf lobing and venation and you have, just using vegetative characters, a well marked family. at right, young cucumber plants in Changsha, Hunan
20Cucumbers Commonly sliced and used in stir fry Small varieties often eaten whole as snacks20
21Bitter melon Momordica charantia Other names: bitter gourd, bitter cucumber, foo gwaCharacteristics: With deep grooves and a bumpy texture, this green melon is unlike most melons known in the Western hemisphere.If eaten in an unripe state, it lives up to its name. Allowed to ripen, the interior gains a lovely reddish hue and it has a sweeter flavor.Grown in tropical regions throughout the world, the melon's bitterness (due to small amounts of quinine) is an acquired taste.
23Luffa acutangula, Ridged Gourd Si Gua, Loofah, LufahVine with dark green leaves and yellow flowers.Fruits have white, fragrant flesh, used in stir-fried dishes or soup.Round Lufa (Luffa cylindrica) Similar use. Mature fruits are processed and used as a bath or kitchen sponges.
24Winter Melon Benincasa hispida Popular in China and southeastern Asia Can grow up to 60 cm long and 40 cm acrossCan weigh 10 kgWinter melon soupServed in a scooped-out winter-melon shell,A sweet soup often served at large Chinese gatherings, such as weddings
25Watermelon is often served at the conclusion of a meal.
27Sweet Potato Ipomoea batatas (Convolvulaceae) Fan Shu (Mandarin) Fun-Shu (Cantonese)A trailing herbaceous perennial rooting from the nodes. Many varieties are cultivated for their tuberous roots or edible leaves.The leaves cooked with various seasonings, and chili form a tasty dish.27
28Sweet PotatoThe plant is native to tropical America, having been cultivated there for centuries. It spread to the Pacific Islands and then to Asia. It was known in southern China by the mid 1500’s.The root tubers are usually boiled steamed, or stir-fried. They are sweet in taste owing to the presence of sugars, the quality of which is increased by boiling or baking.However, starch is the main constituent and flour can be prepared from the tubers. They are nutritious, with about twice as much protein as white potatoes.28
29Water Spinach Ipomoea aquatica ConvolvulaceaeKang-kong, Weng Cai; Ung-Choi (Cantonese);Relative of sweet potatoA perennial semi-aquatic plant producing long shoots which trail over the water or mud, rooting freely at the nodes.Can also be grown on dry land.Flowers are white or pink and leaves are arrow-shaped and stem hollow.The young plants, leaves and shoots form a common leaf vegetable with Asians. It has a high iron content.29
30Chinese Spinach Amaranthus tricolor (A. gangeticus) Amaranthaceae Xian Cai (Mandarin)Yin-Choi (Cantonese)A very ancient pot herb in South East Asia, many of the more than fifty species in both tropical and temperate regions are eaten as greens.It is probably the best of all tropical spinaches both in flavor and food value. It contains substantial amounts of vitamins A, B, C and double the amount of iron found in spinaches.30
31Tong-cai (通菜, Water Spinach) Tong-cai with fermented bean curd and pepper slices is a local favorite delicacy in southern China.There are two kinds of Tong-cai, which grow respectively in relatively dry fields or watery land. The latter is greener and more robust, with larger leaves.
32Bo-cai (菠菜, Spinach) Spinach of western gardens nicknamed "Hong Zui Lue Yingge" ("Red-beak green parrot") in East China for its appearance.
33Houttuynia cordata Lizard’s Tail 鱼腥草pinyin: yúxīng cǎo; literally "fishy-smell herb“Used in salads and stir fries, especially in Sichuan and Hunan33
34Colocasia esculenta (Araceae) Taro or CocoyamYu Tou;Woo-Tau (Cantonese)The corms of Taro are the "potatoes" of the tropics, being superior to potatoes in nutritional value, containing a higher proportion of proteins, calcium and phosphorus. The main bulk is starch, present in very fine grains that makes them easily digestible. The corms can be boiled, roasted, fried as chipsnice nutty flavorThe young leaves and petioles are also used as food and cooked like any other green vegetable.34
35Water Chestnuts Eleocharis dulcis an edible tuber that belongs to the sedge family Cyperaceae. This is not to be confused with the horned water chestnut or water caltrop (Trapa spp.) or with the tree chestnut that is usually roasted and eaten (Castanea spp.).The water chestnut is grown in paddies with riceThe Chinese water chestnut is a popular ingredient in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisinesIn the U.S., we often make due with canned water chestnuts, but fresh ones are the rule in China.35
36ARROWHEAD, Sagittaria sinensis TSEE GOO, KUWAIA small, tuberous vegetable used in Japan and China, where it is grown extensively in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. It resembles a lily bulb with smooth, beige skin and peeling, thin, brown, layered leaves. It has a bland, slightly sweet taste, and can be used in the same way as a potato.Also known as tsee goo (China); kuwai (Japan).known as p'ien t'ao jen (China)The round tuber is edible. In China, it is known as cí-gū (慈菇; lit. "benevolent mushroom"), and its tuber is eaten particularly on the Chinese New Year. It tastes bland, with a starchy texture, similar to a potato but somewhat crunchier, even when cooked.36
37Lotus 莲花 Nelumbo nucifera Lián-huā The lotus root looks like a chain of giant pods connected to one another. Crunchy, with a tinge of sweetness, the vegetable can be prepared in a variety of ways—fried, sautéed, steamed, boiled—without losing its firmness, making it an ideal snappy texture for dishes such as salads.Although used throughout Asia, the lotus root is closely associated with Chinese cuisine. It is also prized for its unique interior pattern of holes, which add a decorative aspect to many dishes.37
39LilyLilium bulbs are starchy and edible as root vegetables, although bulbs of some species may be very bitter.The non-bitter bulbs of L. lancifolium, L. pumilum, and especially L. brownii (百合 干; bǎihé gān) are grown on a large scale in China as a luxury or health food, most often sold in dry form.They are eaten especially in the summer, for their ability to reduce internal heat. They may be reconstituted and stir-fried, grated and used to thicken soup, or processed to extract starch.Their texture and taste draw comparison with the potato, although the individual bulb scales are much smaller.39
40Chinese Toon • Toona sinensis Xiang Chun YaA hardwood tree, related to mahagony. The young leaves and shoots can be used as a vegetable called Xiang Chun Ya. They are uniquely aromatic, excellent for stir fry (especially with egg), salad, pickling, seasoning, etc.It is also used as a medicinal plant40
41Bamboo Shoots Pleioblastus variegatus Grass Family (Poaceae) Shoots are the young canes that are harvested within two weeks, or less than a foot of growthCrisp and tender, similar to asparagusLow in fat and caloriesgood source of fiber and potassium
42Bamboo ShootsMust be for cooked (blanched) for 20 minutes before eatingraw shoots are bitter tasting and hard to digestOther genera are utilized, especially Phyllostachys
44Shan-cai (潺菜, Ceylon Spinach) Basella alba, B. rubraZi luo kui, Lu luo kui (Mandarin)Lo kwai (Cantonese)Native of southern Asiasmooth and gluey on the palateMucilaginous quality makes it good as a thickener in soups and stews.Functions to "cool" the inside of the human body
45Bracken Fern juécài (蕨菜) Worldwide, the most widely distributed species of fernHarvested from the wildUsed in stir fries with light seasoning
46Vegetables from bulbsOnions, leeks, garlic, and shallots are all in the genus Allium of the Liliaceae. All of these have been cultivated for thousands of years. Onions (Allium cepa) and garlic (A. sativum) probably originated in central Asia and leeks (A. ampeloprasum) in the Near East. All were cultivated in Egypt by 3200 B.C.Chives (A. schoenoprasum) are eaten for the leaves alone.
48Cong（葱, Spring Onion）There are two interesting cais widely used for seasoning in Chinese cuisine, Cong and Jiu-cai.Cong, slim and refreshingly fragrant, can enrich and balance the flavors of a dish. It is also synonymous with "smartness” ('Cong Ming' in Mandarin).Many traditional-minded parents let their babies have a bite of cong in the hopes that the plant will help their children become smarter in the future.
49Jiu-cai (韭菜, Leek) The leaves are flat, unlike similar European chives Jiu-cai is nutritious, but "hot" according to TCM. It has been served on Chinese menus for over 3,000 years.The Jiu-cai harvested in February of the Chinese lunar calendar (about March) is the finest.Used both as a seasoning and as a vegetable component of stir fries
50Mushrooms Some common mushrooms and other fungi in Chinese cuisine Some are used as medicines50
51Lentinus Hericium Lactarius Morchella Gastrosuillus Courtesy G. Chen, Jishou University
52Straw Mushrooms Volvariella volvacea. Their common name comes from the rice straw on which they are grown. The straw mushroom, also called "paddy straw mushroom," is cultivated in the hot, steamy climate of Southeast Asia.eaten in China for 2000 years.Worldwide they rank third in consumption, just behind Agaricus bisporus (the common store mushroom) and Lentinus edodes (shiitake).Harvested before the caps expand
53Golden Mushrooms Flammulina velutipes 金針菇, Pinyin: jīnzhēngū Especially used for soupsgrows on the stumps of the Chinese Hackberry tree, also on mulberry and persimmon trees.
54Tree Ear Fungus Auricularia polytricha Also Cloud ear fungus a jelly fungus gray-brown in color used often in Asian cooking.The fungus grows in frilly masses on dead wood. It is a dark brown color but somewhat translucent.It is usually sold dried and needs to be soaked before use.It is prized for its slightly crunchy texture and medicinal properties.
55Shiitake Mushrooms Lentinus edodes Shiitake have many uses in Chinese cuisines. They are served in many steamed and simmered dishes.Shiitake are often dried and sold as preserved food in packages. These must be rehydrated by soaking in water before using.Shiitake contain lentinan, which benefits the immune system
57Ten Tasty Vegetables (Shi Ziang Cai) Ingredients:1 c Carrots, shredded1 c White Chinese turnip,-shredded1 c White Chinese celery,-shredded8 Pieces spiced soy bean curd3 c Soybean sprouts (NOT mung-bean sprouts)4 Green onions, shredded1/2 c Nami dried black mushrooms -soaked & shredded1/2 c Cloud Ear dried fungus -soaked1/2 c Dried lily flowers, soaked-and hard tips removed2 oz Bean thread noodles, soaked1 ts Salt (to taste)6 tbTo 8 tb oil for stir-frying
58Ten Tasty Vegetables: Instructions Preparation: Shred in 2" lengths: carrots, turnip, Chinese celery and bean curd. Shred onions, greens & all, into 2" lengths. Rinse, then soak in hot water: enough mushrooms, fungus and lily flowers to give specified amounts. Shred mushrooms, chop fungus. Soak bean thread noodles. Bean thread noodles are important because they soak up excess moisture from the vegetables. Vegetables should be moist but not soggy or watery after stir-frying. Stir-frying: Stir-fry fresh vegetables separately with about 1 tablespoon oil for each, in hot wok. Add salt to taste. Drain off excess water, reserve. (Soybean sprouts should be cooked until they are slightly charred for fullest flavor.) To stir-fry dried soaked ingredients, begin with hot wok, add 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, then add mushroom, fungus & lily flowers. Stir-fry green onions, add all other ingredients to them, including noodles. Allow dish to cool before serving. NOTE: Fresh or canned bamboo shoot may be substituted for any vegetable. Seaweed may be used instead of some of the fungus.
59Silk Road Ginger and Carrot Stir-fry From the Miao minority in Guizhou province. The namesake ingredients are julienned. Mandolines would help, but if you want a rugged challenge and have strong hands, slicing everything with a cleaver also works. The original recipe also called for pork strips, but I decided to substitute bean curd skin [tofu noodles], which hooked me by being pre-shredded.Serve over rice or stir-fried noodles.Serves 42 tablespoons peanut oil1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic2 large pieces ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks (about 1 cups)6 or 7 dried red chilis2/3 pound carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks (about 1 3/4 cups)1 cup shredded bean curd skin (optional)1/2 cup water2 tablespoons light soy sauce10 to 12 Sichuan peppercorns, lightly crushed or 1 tablespoon ground Sichuan pepperSalt to tasteHeat oil in a wok over medium-high heat and swirl to coat. Toss in garlic, ginger, and chilis and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots and stir-fry 1 minute. Add water and soy sauce, and cover. Allow water to almost fully reduce, then stir in Sichuan pepper. Cook for another minute, then salt to taste. Dish may be served hot or warm.Adapted from Beyond the Great Wall by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid59
60Potato shreds with chili and vinegar qing jiao tu dou si (青椒土豆丝), or ‘green chili potato shreds’.It’s cooked very quickly so that the potatoes still retain a crunch; this was definitely a strange experience at first, having only eaten potatoes in their starchy softness, in the form of mashed potatoes and chips. But it definitely works - it’s refreshing and the texture resembles the radish, somewhat. Recipe: Serves medium potato, peeled (avoid floury potatoes) 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1/2 red chili, finely chopped 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce pinch of sugar 1 spring onion, chopped1. Prepare the potato by cutting it in half lengthways. Place each half with flat side down, and slice each thinly (3-4 mm, if you can manage, the thinner the better!). For every 4-5 slices, lay flat and slice again lengthways, to create long matchstick-like pieces. Leave to soak in a large bowl of cold water to prevent the potatoes from going black. 2. Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick wok, and add the garlic and chili. Sauté for about one minute. Note: You can leave out the chili at this stage if you want a really spicy flavor, and add them in the final stages of cooking3. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes in a colander. Add to the wok and quickly stir fry for another minute. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Keep tossing the potatoes for another 4-5 minutes until you start to see the liquid in the pan thicken. 4. Add the chopped spring onions, toss once more to mix in, and serve.
61Books The Food of China, By E. N. Anderson Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China (Hardcover) by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi DuguidFood Plants of China by Hu Shiu-ying