I went to the local Asian supermarket recently, where I found a green leafy vegetable. I thought they only sold Pocky.
The label read “shungiku.” That’s not Chinese, so I’m not obligated to know what that means. But my parents knew exactly what it was — tong hao. It tasted kinda different but it wasn’t too weird.
Then I found out it was chrysanthemum. Thanks, Google Translate, for ruining my appetite.
Isn’t chrysanthemum that tea thing? Or perhaps you remember it as the frustrating little word nobody knew how to pronounce in second grade, and which nobody knew how to spell in the fifth grade spelling bee. You’re not supposed to stir-fry flowers. This isn’t the Dark Ages. We’re not that desperate for leaves; there’s enough spinach to go around.
Surprise! It’s actually not that bad. It vaguely tastes like the chrysanthemum flower, if you really pay attention to it. We’ve actually stir-fried this many times in my house, but the flavor got kind of old. There’s only so much good ol’ salt and pepper can do, after all.
So I decided to switch it up. And now I present:
Almond-Sesame Chrysanthemum Stir-Fry
You heard that right.
- 1 bunch garland chrysanthemum leaves. Don’t be afraid, they won’t flower on you.
- 1/2 cup almonds. More or less. It don’t matter.
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds. Still don’t matter.
- a few drops of sesame oil. Eh, you don’t even need this if you don’t have it.
1. Toast almonds and sesame seeds. This really brings out their flavors. Otherwise, you just have tasteless crunchy stuff sprinkled on your weird oily flower leaves. You think I’m being dramatic.
2. Stir-fry the chrysanthemum leaves. Until it’s all nice and soft and green.
3. Add almonds, sesame seeds, and sesame oil.
DONE. Look at that innovation. You can practically smell it coming off the webpage. Yep, smells like… dang it I burned the toast again. Be right back.