As westerners turn to apples and pumpkins in October, a little-known Chinese crop is coming into season: jiaobai (茭白), also known as wild rice stem or water bamboo shoots. According to The Hutong, jiaobai is a yin food that can "clear away heat, relieve thirst produce body fluids, promote urination, reduce dampness and induce bowel movements." Had one too many glasses of Pinot with the girls? Apparently jiaobai can help detoxify the body. Read on for five simple ways to cook with this vegetable.
Pork and jiaobai stir-fry 茭白炒肉丝 (jiaobai chao rousi) Former Time Out Dining Editor Shanti Christensen shares a three-step recipe for Nanjing-style pork and jiaobai stir-fry on her blog. Using ginger, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar, and chilies, the ingredients are basic and easy-to-find.
Stir-fried jiaobai and edamame 清炒茭白毛豆 (qingchao jiaobai maodou) It doesn’t get any easier than this, folks. Put sliced jiaobai and edamame beans into a wok, stir-fry with a bit of oil, remove from heat, and sprinkle with salt. Original recipe in Chinese here.
Jiaobai with mushrooms This recipe refers to jiaobai as "water bamboo." Jiaobai can often be substituted for young bamboo in recipes, owing to its firmness and mild taste.
Hot-and-sour jiaobai Featuring step-by-step pictures, this slightly Chinglish-y recipe uses chili sauce for a bit more of a kick.
Stir-fried three-veggie combo 炒素三丝 (chao su sansi)
This vegetarian recipe combines julienned jiaobai, carrot, and mushrooms. Simply toss them into a wok with a bit of garlic and oil, remove from heat, and add salt and chopped green onions. Step-by-step pictures with Chinese instructions here.
When produce is available year-round at Beijing’s farms and greenhouses, it’s easy to forget that each fruit and vegetable has its own sowing and harvesting cycle. Eating seasonally not only ensures the best-quality produce, it also helps maintain our body’s yin and yang balance, according to TCM. The Seasonal Eats series on beijingkids introduces foods best eaten this month.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Xiachufang,