Carry It Like Harry - Forget your sorrows with Chinese lily buds 金针菜

Carry It Like Harry - Forget your sorrows with Chinese lily buds 金针菜

  • Latin: 1. Hemerocallis fulva, 2. Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, 3. Hemerocallis minor
  • English: Lily buds/ Lily shoots 1. Orange day-lily, 2. Lemon day-lily, 3. Dwarf day-lily/ Grassleaf lily/ Small day-lily
  • Mandarin Chinese: Jinzhencai 金针菜, Xuancaohua 萱草花, Wangyoucao 忘忧草, Huanghuacai 黄花菜

Chinese lily buds are a very common ingredient in Chinese cuisine. These are actually dried or fresh flower buds from a variety of day-lilies grown throughout China.

Considered a form of vegetables, lily buds are often stir-fried of added to stews.
You can easily buy them in the dried form in Chinese supermarkets and grocery stores around the world.


How do you prepare dried Chinese lily buds?

  1. Rinse them first in water and the soak for around 2 hours.
  2. Cut off the hard ends.
  3. Soak for another hour and discard the water.

They are never eaten by themselves, so if you intend to add them to stir-fried vegetables, they go well with fresh leafy greens. Otherwise, they bring out the taste in chicken or pork stews, which is what I do often.


Benefits of dried Chinese lily buds

Apart from their common names like Jinzhencai 金针菜 (golden needles) and Huanghuacai 黄花菜 (yellow flower vegetable), lily buds are also called “Herb for forgetting your sorrows” – Wangyoucao 忘忧草.

This is an ancient observation that dated from the 7th century.
The poet Bai Juyi 白居易 wrote:

“While Du Kang (the legendary inventor of Wine) can solve your boredom, the Xuan Herb can help you forget your sorrows”

The best quality lily buds are produced in the Qu County 渠县 in the southwestern Sichuan province. They contain 7 stigma and filaments and are always covered by 6-8 petals.

In Chinese medicine, lily buds aid your brain functions and help blood clots. It helps to cool your blood and aid your urination.


Side effects

One must note that fresh lily buds contain toxins. These should not be consume in large quantity and should be cooked at high temperature.