Lettuce was first introduced into China from Europe in the sixth or seventh century, and was regarded as a luxury item at first. Nowadays it is widely grown throughout the country as an everyday vegetable.
Spinach is full of iron and therefore highly regarded for its nutritious value. The slight acid taste in your mouth when eating spinach (caused by potassium oxalate) can be somewhat reduced if you cook it according to this recipe.
This was originally a Sichuan dish but it is now very popular throughout China. Naturally, there are several versions as people from different regions have adapted it to their taste. This recipe is supposed to be the authentic one.
Chinese cabbage is now widely available both in America and Europe and is sometimes known as Chinese leaves or Bok choy. One of the advantages of Chinese cabbage is that it will keep fresh for a long time and its texture will retain its crunchiness even after lengthy cooking.
Serve this dish side by side with ‘agitated’ kidney flowers to give an interesting contrast in texture and colour as well as flavour.
These prawns are deep-fried in their shells with the tails still attached, which is decorative and makes them easy to handle.
The interesting thing about this dish is that the fish is not smoked. It acquires a smoky taste from being first marinated in soy sauce and wine, then deep-fried in hot oil.
This recipe originated in Shanghai but it is very popular throughout China. It is a sort of standard dish served as a starter to whet your appetite for bigger things to follow.