Raw Vegetable Delicacies
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）