Spring onion, ginger and garlic in Chinese cooking
Another common way of stir-frying Northeast Chinese dishes is using the taste of spring onions, ginger and garlic to influence the dishes. If you get into any household in North China, you can easily find these three items on the kitchen shelves. Nowadays, people can buy the fresh vegetables in the market whole year long, but before, twenty years or thirty years ago, in winter, because of the very cold weather in North China (-30˚c the coldest :0), it was difficult to find fresh seasonal vegetables apart from winter grows. So most families would stock up some vegetables including lots of ‘big spring onions’. (They look similar to leeks, but taste is more like spring onions, easy to stock than small spring onions.)
Anyway, with the strong and distinguish taste of these three items, they are the nature ingredients comparing those powders in little jars. :)) Normally, they are well chopped, and put into heated oil, wait until the smell comes out, (at this point, the oil is flavored as well), put the rest of food in for stir-frying.
However, the way they influence the dishes depends on when you put them in. For instance, if you put the spring onion at the very beginning (in heated oil), the flavor would influence the whole dish (in this case, normally it is the part of the white stem being used); if you put it in when you finish or almost finish the cooking, then the freshness and sharp smell of the spring onion will not be mixed into the dish, but remain ons the top (in this case, it is the green part of the spring onion used). … Am I talking sense?
Almost every dish can have these three items in for enriching the flavor, but personally, I like to have garlic with green vegetables, spring onion with light stir-fried the dish, and ginger with fish and meat dishes. :)