Basic Chinese Pantry. Black Beans and Chinese White Cabbage

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black-beans_2cBy the article "Basic Chinese Pantry. Bean Curd" we began a series of articles about Chinese Pantry. Here is the next text on this topic. It's about such products as Black Beans and Chinese White Cabbage (Bok Choy).

 

 


Black Beans

These small black soya beans, also known as salted black beans or fermented black beans, are preserved by being fermented with salt black-beans_cand spices. They have a distinctive, slightly salty taste and a pleasantly rich smell and are used as a seasoning, often in conjunction with garlic or fresh root ginger. This appetite-stimulating aroma can quickly transform an ordinary fast meal into something special. Black beans can be combined with a number of foods to give them a deep rich flavour. They are inexpensive and increasingly easier to obtain; I see them often in supermarkets. Although you can buy them in tins as 'black beans in salted sauce', you may also see them packed in plastic bags, and these are preferable. The beans are usually used whole or coarsely chopped. Although some recipes require you to rinse them before use, for fast cooking I never bother with this. The beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator or in a cool place.

Chinese White Cabbage or Bok Choy

Chinese white cabbage, more popularly known as bok choy, has been grown in China for centuries. Although there are many varieties, bok-choy_cthe most common and best-known is the one with a long, smooth, milky-white stem and large, crinkly, dark green leaves. The size of the plant indicates how tender it is; the smaller the better, especially in summer, when the hot weather toughens the stalks. It has a light, fresh, slightly mustardy taste and requires little cooking. Bok choy cooks quickly in soup and takes only minutes to stir-fry - perfect for fast cooking. It is now widely available in supermarkets. Look for firm crisp stalks and unblemished leaves. Store it in the bottom of the refrigerator.



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