Ingredient Name: Lily Bulbs also known as lilium
Traditional Chinese Name: 百合 (Bai He)
What is this?
- The bulbous root of the lily plant which grows submerged in some depth in the soil
- It is an edible, starch-like bulb that is sweet to taste, although some species can be quite bitter
- Lily bulbs are most commonly cultivated and sold in the Chinese culture and used as a luxury or health food
- Lily bulbs are said to be cool and relieve heatiness
- Lily bulbs can be found in sweet soups, savory soups, and various Asian dishes
- If used in soups, it will thicken the soup is boiled too long since the bulb flakes will disintegrate and “melt” into the soup
How do I prepare it?
- Dried lily bulb flakes will need to be rinsed in warm water and can be directly used to soups
- Fresh lily bulbs need to be thoroughly washed as the bulbs contain a fair amount of dirt
- Ideally, remove each bulb leave and scrub under running warm water
Where can I buy this?
- You can purchase this in most Asian supermarkets dried or frozen
- At the wet mart, you can purchase this fresh from the vegetable vendors
- Chinese pharmacies will also carry this dried
What is the cost?
- A package of 3 fresh lily bulbs from the wet mart costs around $5-8 HKD/pack
- Lily bulbs are said to help nourish the lungs and relieve coughs
- They are high in protein, starch and plenty of vitamins
- Lily bulbs help reduce internal heat and is often consumed in the summer months
- Although lily bulbs are defined as “cool” and not “cold”, it is a precaution to consume too much if you are concerned with relieving too much heatiness (ie: for pregnant women under 3 months in term or if you are menstruating)
- Frozen lily bulbs are good to keep for up to 1 months in the freezer
- Dried lily bulb flakes can kept in the fridge for up to 6 months
Your soups all look very nice, thank you. What is grass carp fish in Chinese/Cantonese/dialect? Thanks a lot.
Carol, grass carp (http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/grass-carp-fish/) is called in Cantonese “WAN YUE” (“WAN” is pronounced like “WAND” in English without the D and “YUE” sounds like “YOU” in English with a slight modifcation in tone, but hard to explain). Hope this helps. Lisa
It’s never too late to learn more,,really love your blog,I’m awake and more excited to cook.Can’t wait for tomorrow to come to try them all one by one
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I’m wondering if dried lily bulb can be substituted for fresh? I live in Colorado Springs, CO and have no idea where to find fresh lily bulb? Also are there different varieties of lilies and if so what type is used in this recipe? Thank you.
Hi Bonita, yes, you can, but fresh will be sweeter and milkier. Add more dried in place of fresh lily bulbs! And I’m sorry that I don’t know the specific type of lily. The bulb itself is white and peels off in layers. The taste of the fresh one is very starchy, soft, and slightly sweet. Looks like this: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/lily-bulbs/. Hope this helps! Lisa