Bok Choy (Dried)

Bok Choy (Dried)

Bok Choy (Dried)

Ingredient Name:

Bok Choy (Dried) or Chinese Cabbage

Traditional Chinese Name:

菜乾 (cài gān)

This ingredient is sweet to taste and cooling in nature. 

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Bok choy is  cooler ingredients relative to its cabbage cousins and targets the stomach and large intestines.  It’s also a great for clearing excess water and detoxifying the body, including aiding in digestion. 

Dried bok choy is more salty (and even sweet) relative to it’s fresh counterpart.  It’s actually super tasty and they have the same properties (even when dried!). Drying the bok choy dates back from Chinese history as a way to preserve the vegetable after the harvest season and has a very long shelf life once dried if stored in cool, dry places.  It becomes somewhat brittle and hard, but has a very fragrant smell to it and is even more delicious when softened and cooked.

There are actually a lot of uses for dried bok choy.  You can use them soups, stews, stir fry, even in dumplings (chopped up)!  They are a versatile ingredient and pretty common in Chinese cuisines.  They have somewhat of a chewy texture (it’s all that fiber), but soften super nicely in soup and stews.  

 

How do I prepare it?

    Soak in cool water until it’s completely softened and limp (like it flows with the water).  Be sure to completely soak and rinse it a few times as the curing process tends to attract a lot of flies and you’ll see them surface out as you wash these vegetables.

    Where can I buy it?

        • Dried bok choy is most common in Asian supermarkets

    What is the cost?

        • Dried bok choy isn’t very expensive cost around $3-4 CAD per pack of dried bok choy

    Any benefits?

    • Bok choy is a good source of calcium, vitamin C, and is high in antioxidants
    • It is a high fibre and low calorie vegetable
    • It is sustainable in growth in a variety of weather conditions and therefore can easily be grown almost anywhere in the world
    • This is a cooling ingredients, so can help reduce heat in the body

    Any precautions?

        • Since it’s cooling (is a yin ingredient), take caution to consume if you’ve got excess yin or yang deficiency

        • Be sure to thoroughly soak them and rinse them in running water a few times.  These tend to harbor so many little bugs that the children will find!

    Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

    Check it out in my video to learn more!

     

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    Scallops – Dried (Conpoy)

    Scallops – Dried (Conpoy)

    Scallops – Dried (Conpoy)

    Ingredient Name:

    Conpoy or Dried Scallops

    Traditional Chinese Name:

    乾瑤柱 (gàn yáo zhù)

    You can check out this video on Getting Started on Building Your Soup Pantry!

     

    I would say that this is a staple in every Chinese cook’s stock.  All you really need are 3-5 dried of these in any soup and in most of the soups I’ve made, this is a great base to start with.  Honestly, if you’ve got nothing to eat (except instant noodles and I wouldn’t even that on a regular basis), make a congee out of dried scallops and serve with preserved cucumbers (that come out of the fridge) and you’ve got a pretty yummy meal.

     

    • Conpoy or dried scallops are preserved and treated seafood made from scallops
    • They can be made from either cooked or raw scallops (but mainstream is cooked)
    • They vary in size depending on the original scallop it was dried from
    • They are often used in Chinese soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes
    • They can be stored for years at a time (in an air tight container or in the fridge)

    How do I prepare it?

            • To use for soups, wash and soak the dried scallops in cold water for at least 30-minutes
            • Some will drain the soaking water before usage, but there are also others who suggest using it as some of the flavour of the scallop has already been extracted into the water
            • Add to the boiling water of soup.

    Where can I buy it and cost?

        • In Hong Kong, any dried food store will carry this (wet marts, supermarkets, mom and pop shops)
        • In Canada, any Chinese dried food store will carry it as well (in Chinese malls)
        • They are sold pre-packaged or in bulk

    What is the cost?

        • Dried scallops vary in costs depending on its size, wholeness (have they broken apart are are still whole) and quality

        • In Hong Kong the cost is roughly: $400 HKD / pound (for average dried scallops)

        • In Canada the cost is roughly: $80 CAD / pound (for whole average dried scallops), you can also buy shredded or broken ones for about $50 CAD / pound which are just as good (only they don’t look as good if you’re using them for cooking purposes

    Any benefits?

        • By adding dried scallops to your soup, you can reduce (or eliminate) the salt as they produce enough flavour
          Dried scallops are beneficial to the “yin” and replenishes the kidneys

    Any precautions?

        • Be careful of fake products. Buy from a reputable and trusted store or source

        • Many countries outside of Asia require travelers to declare this product if you’re bringing it into the country

    Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

    Check it out in my video to learn more!