As I do not have any photo of fresh ging cheng I got this from http://penangfaces.chanlilian.net to show you the fresh ging cheng. A rare photo as ging cheng is not freuently grown in Sarawak.
Yesterday I cooked an old favourite Foochow soup using golden needles or dried ging cheng bought from a Chinese drug store. The soup is sourish and yet sweet. The aroma is excellently fresh and interesting even to the uninitiated. A friend who came for dinner ate it for the first time in his life and found it excellent in taste and colour. He said that it was very appetising where soup is concerned. He probably had it before but never realised what it was until yesterday. But ging cheng is clearly a Foochow flower - vegetable.
Ging Cheng has been used by the Foochows as a traditional soup and is usually cooked with pork slithers well coated with tapioca flour to give the meat a smooth texture. Tapioca furthermore softens the meat. Wise Foochow housewives often keep a small bottle of ging cheng for the literal rainy days when vegetables are more pricey and hard to find. The golden needles then come to the table to the delight of the elders usually.
To make the soup for four persons
150 grams meat sliced thinly and marinate with l teaspoon of tapioca flour with a dash each of pepper and salt
50 - 100 grams of golden needles (or nore) soaked washed and knotted as in the picture (knot to prevent disintegration)
l pip garlic
2 small onions sliced
1 tablespoon cooking or sesame oil
some salt and some pepper
some Foochow red wine if desired
1. heat the wok and add the oil. When the oil is smokingly hot add the garlic and sliced onions.
2. Add 5 bowls of water and bring to the boil
3. When the water is boiling hot add the golden needles and finally the marinated meat slices.
4. Cover the soup. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add pepper and salt. Add some wine if you like.
5. Serve in Chinese bowls.
Always get the golden coloured ging cheng because it is fresher. You can get them in Chinese drug stores and the local market. A homecooked dish this soup is rarely offered by high end restaurants. I believe that once you like this simple soup you will cook it again and again. It is aromatic and delightful and of course extremely easy.
Golden Needles or Ging Cheng or Daylily is the common name of the species, hybrids and cultivars of the genus Hemerocallis. These flowers of this plants are highly diverse in colour and form, often resulting from hybridization by gardening enthusiasts.
Dried golden needlesThe flowers of some species are edible and are used in Chinese cuisine. They are sold (fresh or dried) in Asian markets as gum jum or golden needles (金针 in Chinese; pinyin: jīnzhēn) or yellow flower vegetables (黃花菜 in Chinese; pinyin: huánghuācài). They are used in hot and sour soup, daylily soup (金針花湯), Buddha's delight, and moo shu pork. The young green leaves and the tubers of some (but not all) species are also edible. The plant has also been used for medicinal purposes. Care must be used as some species can be toxic.
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