xiāng chūn, aka Cedrela sinensis A. aka Chinese toon, are the young leaves of a tree that start to bloom in spring in the surrounding of Tianjin and in the north of China.
With a taste like hazelnut, it will only be available for a few weeks at your local market.
Read before you buy
Poisonous when raw
Please note, that xiāng chūn are very poisonous raw, when you buy them, they need to be cooked to remove their toxins. Their red color indicates their toxicity when raw. When heated at a proper temperature, the leaves will become deep green and will lose all toxicity. For extra safety it is recommended to always preboil until deep green prior to cooking. Put them in iced water to keep their freshness and crispiness.
A healthy treat
Traditionally named "long life greens", they are packed with vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. It is also used in Chinese medicine to prevent hair loss and to regulate Qi.
A taste not to miss
After being cooked, it tastes like hazelnut and moss, a very refreshing and unusual but satisfying combination for a foreigners’ palate. It is like “eating fresh hazelnut in a forest after a rain”.
Locals traditionally will scramble them with eggs or make a soup with tofu and chicken.
We love it cold in a salad with other ingredients and nuts.
A few yuan for a full hand of them
Mix your xiang chun with eggs, minced chicken and some flour
Cook it in a pan with some salt and black pepper
You can change the chicken with other ingredients. Why not try bacon? Or cheese?
Minced with your prefered raw vegtables and nuts then add some cold xiang chun
Put it in the fridge until cold
Mixed with nuts and balsamic vinegar will make a perfect combination
Mix xiang chun and eggs before scrambling them in a little oil
Add some other ingredients; mushrooms, a little cream, or minced beetroot to increase your forest taste experience.
Drive to the country side and harvest your own! Make an event out of it!
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