Snow Pears (Dried)

Snow Pears (Dried)

Ingredient Name: Snow Pears or Pyrus Nivalis (dried)

Chinese Name: 雪梨幹 (xuě lí gàn) or 梨干 (lí gàn)

This is a great natural additive to any soup or drink, although it is more commonly used in drinks rather than soups.  You can do a combination of dried or fresh snow pears in both soups and drinks and this is almost a great staple to have “just in case” you feel like making a soup but the stores are closed or it’s a typhoon or snow storm.  And of course, no one is to stop you from eating it if you’re in dire hunger.

What is this?
  • An edible fruit grown from pear trees
  • It is usually round and found to grow well in cooler temperatures
  • The snow pear is often firm in handling and is often associated with being on the more sour and tangy side of taste
  • Snow pears are known to be a “cooling” fruit
  • It is often dried with the skin and seeds and dried in disks the size of diameter of the pear

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash the dried snow pears in warm running water
  • Use directly in soups and drinks

Where can I buy this?

  • Commonly found in wet marts in Hong Kong from the herbalist or dried food vendor
  • It is sometimes available in packages in supermarkets (although more as a snack than as an additive to soups or drinks)

What is the cost?

  • Dried snow pears are very affordable costing around $1-2 HKD for 2-3 slices

Any benefits?

  • Pears have 0 fat and provide a healthy intake of natural sugars
  • Pears are also packed with Vitamin A, C and E1
  • They contain excellent amounts of copper and potassium and are packed with carbohydrates
  • Pears also are the least allergenic of all fruits and is often found as a first foods for babies
  • They are said to assist with the lower of cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Pears are excellent laxatives due to their high fiber content

Any precautions?

  • Pears, especially Snow Pears, are known to be a “cooling” food
  • Women who are pregnant or menstruating should take caution when consuming Snow Pears

Any substitutes?

  • “Crystal” pears can also be substituted for Snow Pears in soups
  • Apples are also an ideal substitute

Additional Information?

  • Dried Snow Pears store very well in a sealed container
  • They can be kept in refrigeration for up to 3 months

Dried Lily Flower

Ingredient Name: Dried lily flower

Traditional Chinese Name:  金針花 (jin zhen hua)

What is this?

  • This is literally the dried petals of lily flowers
  • When cooked into soups or stir-fried, it remains closed (as pictured above)
  • It has a spongy texture and an earthy, slightly sweet taste (similar to golden mushrooms)

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in warm water for 30 minutes
  • Cut off any hardened ends
  • Rinse well before use

Where can I buy this?

  • Dried lily flowers can be purchased at almost all Asian dried food shops.

What is the cost?

  • The cost is very affordable.  The amount pictured above cost less than $2 CAD.

Any benefits?

  • Eating lily flowers is said to help relieve liver stagnation
  • Lily flower tea can help to moisten lungs and alleviate coughs

Any precautions?

  • None that we know of
Loquat Leaf (Dried)

Loquat Leaf (Dried)

Ingredient Name: Loquat Leaf (Dried)

Traditional Chinese Name: 枇杷葉 (pípá yè), 琵琶葉 (pípá yè)

 
What is this?
  • The dried leaf of the loquat leaf plant (which produces an oval orange fruit that has a very large seed)
  • The leaves are usually 10-25 cm in length and dark green in color with a leathery texture
  • The loquat fruit is very common in Chinese and Japanese cultures

How do I prepare it?

  • The leaves are normally bought dried and pre-cut
  • Simply rinse in warm water before usage

Where can I buy this?

  • Most herbal shops will carry this
  • Wet marts in Hong Kong will also sometimes carry this

What is the cost?

  • Extremely affordable
  • 30 g cost around $5 HKD

Any benefits?

  • Leaves are said to soothe the digestive and respiratory systems
  • They also aid in helping your body release anti-oxidants (to reduce aging)
  • Can help skin inflammation if applied topically

Any precautions?

  • Avoid eating the seeds of the loquat fruit (and young leaves) as it is carcinogenic and releases cyanide when digested (although in low amounts)

Resources

Chrysanthemum (Dried)

Chrysanthemum (Dried)

Chrysanthemum (Dried)

Ingredient Name:

Chrysanthemums, Mums, Chrysanths

Traditional Chinese Name:

菊花 (jú huā)

This ingredient is cooling and bitter sweet.

I’m a huge fan of this dried herb!  You can find it commonly used in Chinese restaurants as a tea which you can order, at supermarkets as bulk, at Asian herbal shops, and even in some western herbal tea blends.  When seeped, it turns the liquid into a bright clear yellow.  You can actually eat the flowers if you’d like, but they do disintegrate quite a bit and can be difficult to drink with all that stuff floating around 🙂

The chrysanthemum flower is widely known as a cooling ingredient in both Chinese food and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  If you’ve got lots of “hot air” (yeet hay) or feeling very heaty, this is the go to herbal drink.  It’s actually very common in Hong Kong to find chrysanthemum bottled or boxed drinks.  

This is a perennial flower plant that has many variations (different colours such as white, pinks, yellows) in various shapes and sizes.  It was first cultivated in China for herbal properties and is used in teas, drinks, desserts and various other Chinese dishes.  It is often purchased dried for consumption and has a very distinct taste and scent.

How do I prepare it?

      • You can rinse in warm water first as sometimes there are bugs floating around, but not too long as not to seep out the flavours.No other preparation needed.

What is the cost?

      • The price will range from a few dollars to tens of dollars depending on the size, make, and brand of the dried flowers

      • There are smaller full buds, which tend to be more expensive, or the shredded bloomed ones, which are cheaper
      • In general, one tub of 60 g of dried loose flowers can cost around $8 CAD

Any benefits?

      • This ingredient is considered cooling and great to remove and eliminate excess heat and heat from the body
      • It is particularly targeted to the liver (eyes) and lungs
      • It’s often used to help with fever, colds, and headaches
      • It tends to have a cleansing effect by clearing heat and drying dampness in the body
      • This goes will with honey (added in after you’ve boiled or steeped the tea)

Any precautions?

      • It is cooling, so be careful if you’re cold, feeling cold, or have excess yin

      • Not suggested as part of postpartum or confinement consumption as it’s cooling

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Chinese Yam (dried)

Chinese Yam (dried)

Ingredient Name:

Chinese Yam (dried)

Traditional Chinese Name:

淮山 (huái shān)

Check out our video on “The 7 basic Chinese Soup Pantry Ingredients“, which include the Chinese Yam.

 

This is the dried version of the Fresh Chinese Yam, which is a white long root with a brown outer skin.  When dried, the Chinese Yam is usually proceed into 1-2 inches in length, flat, and very chalky white.  It is tasteless, produces no colour in the soup, and is one of the common Chinese Soup pantry ingredients.  It’s used in soups, stews, and sometimes even desserts!  There are a few variety of these types of Chinese Yams, including a fresh Japanese variant, which is just as yummy in soups.

How do I prepare it?

      • Soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes.  This is to remove any of the chemicals used during processing and to allow it to soften and expand
      • It’s used as it directly in soups.  There’s no need to cut it any further.

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • You can purchase dried Chinese Yam from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged
      • These are also available either prepackaged or “pick your volume”  in Chinese Herbal Stores
      • You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops) 

What is the cost?

      • A package costs around $3-5 CAD

Any benefits?

      • It is often used in combination with meats and other Chinese herbs to help digestion and regulate sugar levels
      • Traditionally it is used to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea
      • When boiled with chicken and a variety of other Chinese herbs, it is an ideal confinement soup as it helps control inflammation of the uterus
      • It is considered a neutral ingredient
      • Be sure to consult with your doctor first if you have any questions regarding this herb

Any precautions?

      • Excess consumption is known to cause frequent urination and perspiration

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