New vegetable: jiaobai 茭白

09Apr08

jiaobaiYesterday I was, again, funshopping in the Asian store, choosing a different one then the large supermarket I usually go to. There are four Chinese supermarkets in the center of The Hague, and I visit them in turns, although I seem to skip the one in the Wagenstraat (长江行 Cheung Kong) because it is further down my tram stop.

Somehow Amazing Oriental (东方行 Dongfang in Chinese) in the basement of the large new Pathe cinema at the Spui, has a more international section then Wah Nam (华南行 Huanan, meaning ‘South China’) in the backstreet behind the Bijenkorf. While AO has Thai fish cakes and frozen octopus and lots of Indonesian, Vietnamese and South Chinese snacks and bottles, WN features more Chinese vegetables and homecooking ingredients. So there I found the vegetable jiaobai, light green in color and resembling bamboo shoots; it is also called water bamboo.

After searching the web, but with guests breathing down the wok so to speak, I made a simple stir-fry. First take off the husks of the jiaobai (which I wrongly called wosun in this post earlier on – this is the update) and cut into small chunks. Fry in a little oil and add salt, a pinch of sugar and a half cup of water. Simmer until almost all water has dissappeared, stir the vegetables now and then. The 茭白 jiaobai will still have some crunch and tastes, surprisingly, like a cross between asparagus and firm cucumber with a hint of jasmine flavour!
A nice side dish in a Chinese dinner. Will try it again soon. Have a look at more pictures here at Flickr



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