Raw Veg­etable Del­i­ca­cies


Special Focus - - Contents - Chen Nianx­uan 陈念萱

Iam quite cer­tain that most Chi­nese peo­ple, with the no­table ex­cep­tion of in­hab­i­tants of the freez­ing north­ern­most prov­inces, aren't used to eat­ing veg­eta­bles raw (this is es­pe­cially true in the south of China, where the cli­mate is pre­dom­i­nantly hot and hu­mid). Veg­eta­bles in China are gen­er­ally cooked or, al­ter­na­tively, pick­led. It was only af­ter I trav­elled to Western coun­tries that I grad­u­ally re­al­ized how sat­is­fy­ing eat­ing raw veg­eta­bles could be. In cold, arid ar­eas, sugar is plen­ti­ful in veg­eta­bles, mak­ing them sweet and de­li­cious when eaten raw. On the other hand, ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, con­sum­ing raw veg­eta­bles and fruits in a

hot, hu­mid cli­mate will in­crease their al­ready sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tiveim­pacton­dampand­cold­body­dis­po­si­tion­sneg­a­tive im­pact on damp and cold body dis­po­si­tions.

On my first visit to In­dia, I re­mem­bered lo­cal peo­ple's as­ton­ish­ment when they saw me munch­ing on a raw tomato. It turns out that in the cuisines of ar­eas with a great abun­dance of food, such as the Mediter­ranean re­gion or the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent, toma­toes are used mainly for sea­son­ing and are in gen­eral not con­sumed di­rectly (this is be­cause toma­toes' nu­tri­tional value in­creases af­ter be­ing heated). I, on the other hand, was even more taken aback by the sight of In­di­ans' snack­ing on huge cu­cum­bers as if they were a piece of fruit. To me, a na­tive Tai­wanese, the only proper way to eat a cu­cum­ber is to cook it in soup.

As a child, I was hor­ri­fied at the sight of some­one eat­ing raw gar­lic. It was the same feel­ing I had in the win­ter when I would ob­serve my dad chop­ping radishes and stick­ing pieces of it into his mouth. He would even com­plain how taste­less Tai­wanese radishes are, how their fibers are too thick, and how they are not sweet enough. In Tai­wan, radish is cooked in soup and never eaten raw. In the sim­ple world of a child, veg­eta­bles are just veg­eta­bles. Who would have known that there were such huge dif­fer­ences be­tween a veg­etable that is grown in dif­fer­ent re­gions? In ad­di­tion, sea­sonal vari­a­tions in a par­tic­u­lar re­gion also af­fect the qual­ity of the yield. Each time grown-ups took me shop­ping for gro­ceries, I would get bored while they were choos­ing veg­eta­bles. At­tempt­ing to be help­ful, I would grab a bunch­bunc of veg­gies and throw them into our shop­ping bag. Mom would then call me a good-for-noth­ing helper, as I wasn’t mind­ful of the con­di­tion or ripeness. One time my grand grandma saw me take a veg­etable, lick it, and then throw it onto thet ground—she shook her head and scolded me for be­ing waste­ful.

La Later in life, I was stuck in the moun­tains over­look­ing Vanc Van­cou­ver. A snow­storm was rag­ing out­side. Luck­ily, it was warmw and dry in­doors by the fire­place. Meals there con­sis con­sisted solely of raw veg­etable, sal­ads and bread. To my as­toni as­ton­ish­ment, I could not get enough of this kind of food. It was then that I re­al­ized that cli­mate de­ter­mined peo­ple's food pref­er­ences.p That day I did away with my cul­tural prejud prej­u­dices against cer­tain kinds of foods, es­pe­cially raw veg­eta veg­eta­bles. I now be­lieve that with a slight ad­just­ment, one can eat both raw and cooked food any­time, and in any place.

Leafy veg­eta­bles should not be eaten cooked. On the other hand, veg­eta­bles with thick fibers should not be con­sumed raw. I have learned to take some ta­ble salt, rub it in, and squeeze out the ex­tra mois­ture, then chop the veg­eta­bles into small chunks for later use. That way, the veg­eta­bles re­main soft and green for a long time and can be served with rice, noo­dles, or tofu. They can even be mixed with ground nuts or with chopped spring onions, then com­bined with dough and baked or shal­low-fried to make pan­cakes. This method makes them more aro­matic and tastier, sweeter, and more en­tic­ing than reg­u­lar spring onions.

If a dish is to be tasty, with the leafy veg­eta­bles still re­tain­ing their nu­tri­ents, while at the same time not

cre­at­ing an un­nec­es­sary bur­den on peo­ple with damp and cold dis­po­si­tions, some roasted veg­eta­bles can be added to the mix to make the meal more bal­anced. Roasted sweet pep­pers are ex­tremely tasty with their skin­ski re­moved. Like­wise, roast­ing toma­toes, ap­ples, pears and evenev grapes, will se­ri­ously in­crease their sweet­ness. weet­ness. Roasted prod­uct tastes great with leafy veg­eta­bles. ta­bles. If one adds roasted mush­rooms and nuts, the dish sh will be­come even richer, more nu­tri­tious and de­li­cious. .

Some­times, I store roasted veg­eta­bles eta­bles or fruits in a cool place, soak­ing in rice or fruit vine­gar. gar. Prod­uct can be stored like this for long pe­ri­ods with­out ut be­com­ing sour. They also ac­quire a great color and taste, , and are great for dec­o­rat­ing dishes and win­ning your guests' sts' hearts.

One day, some friends nds came to visit from far away. My fe­male male guests talked in­ces­santly and nobody dy would let me cook any­thing—they would say it was a waste of time. Since nce there were so many street ped­dlers dlers and eater­ies in the neigh­bor­hood, rhood, there was no need for me to even en­ter the kitchen. Among ng my guests was an Amer­i­can n who asked me to or­der scalded ed green veg­eta­bles at ev­ery meal. This unique Tai­wanese ese way of eat­ing green veg­eta­bles is a fa­vorite among for­eign­ers. Not only ly is it a way of avoid­ing eat­ing raw veg­eta­bles les in a hot and hu­mid cli­mate; it also helps meet the he body's need for green veg­eta­bles. Scalded green veg­eta­bles s are fresh and de­li­cious, and a fa­vorite dur­ing hot sum­mers.

The recipe is ex­tremely sim­ple. First, heat­ing half a pot of wa­ter to boil. Then add some oil and salt. Briefly dip a hand­ful of spinach, sweet potato leaves, Chi­nese broc­coli, Chi­nese cab­bage, or crown daisy in the boil­ing wa­ter, then re­move the veg­eta­bles, ar­range them on a plate and add a unique sauce.

Usu­ally, in small eater­ies, scalded green veg­eta­bles come with a sim­ple gar­lic sauce and sesame oil. The sauce my mother used to make was slightly more com­plex. She would use onions, ginger, and gar­lic pow­der, as well as her fa­vorite type of basil, co­rian­der, and cel­ery. She some­times adds ketchup, may­on­naise, and a bit of mus­tard, as well. I, on the other hand, pre­fer the taste of sesame sauce, yel­low mus­tard, and al­mond sauce mixed to­gether. Re­cently, I have also be­come fond of mix­ing Ital­ian red wine vine­garvi and olive oil. Fruit sauces made of mixedmi lemons, or­anges, and other cit­rus are a tasty and re­fresh­ing way to fla­vor dish­esd in the summer.

Dur­ing a whiskey tast­ing ata a fa­mous dis­tillery in Ire­land, filled withwi the scent of the finest al­co­hol, a wild idea sud­denly dawned on me. I told theth master chef— right there and then then—to try adding a bit of the spir­its to the salad dress­ing on the ta­ble. It turnedt out to be the tasti­est veg­etable salad I had ever had, and I re­mem­berire­mem­ber it fondly to this day. Sim­i­larly, it w was only af­ter I vis­ited Ja­pan for the first­fir time that I en­coun­tered the sim­ple way Ja­panese house­wives rub salt into veg­eta­bles,veg­etab in­ten­si­fy­ing their nat­u­ral sweet­ness and freshf color. From that mo­ment on, I would ofte of­ten ap­ply this sim­ple method to my own dishes, es­pe­cially to gherkins, a food so pop­u­lar in Ja­pane­seJa­pan kitchens. Af­ter this, gherkins can be stored for quite­quit a long time. They can be eaten any time or used for dec dec­o­ra­tion. This kind of sim­plic­ity strongly re­minds inds me of SenS no Rikyuu, a Ja­panese sage who ex­erted a pro­found in­flu­ence on tea cer­e­monies, and was a cham­pion of sim­ple aes­thet­ics. This sim­plic­ity, I think, is the true mean­ing of life. It is the re­al­iza­tion that comes di­rectly from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing such bliss.

(From World­view, Issue 15, 2016. Trans­lated: Trans)

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