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Commom ingredient: Garlic bolt


Chinese garlic bolt
Image source: http://www.hometownseeds.com/herb-seeds-c-3?zenid=f80c01c47632e02eaacc3043380cf391

Garlic bolt is a very common ingredients in Chinese cuisine. But because it is mostly suitable for simple stir-fried dishes, it is not usually served in big or fancy restaurants. It is also not easy to find here in UK supermarkets. In most Chinese supermarkets, however, you can get them at reasonable price, and they are normally imported from China.

My husband has suggested that I should only share some recipes with common ingredients which can be easily found in normal supermarkets, so I have held the recipes with garlic bolt for a long while. (But it is one of my favorite vegetables, I could not wait to share!) This time I got encouraged by a Spanish friend. When we were in Spain for Xmas holiday, we decided to invite some friends over for a homemade Chinese meal. I wanted it to be very ‘Chinese’, so we went down to the Chinese supermarkets in Valencia. I was so excited to find garlic bolt, so needless to say, immediately grabbed a bunch. Guess what, although I cooked several ‘more sophisticated’ dishes, the simple stir-fried garlic bolt dish was the favorite of our friends.

Garlic bolt in Chinese is called ‘Suan tai’ or ‘Suan hao’ in some of the Northeast regions. It is said that it part of the stem of garlic flower. It does taste ‘garlic..ish’, but not strong, rather fresh and pleasant. It is very nutritious: rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin C, calcium, etc. In Chinese medicine, it is said that garlic bolt has properties for controlling lipids, preventing coronary heart disease, and it is also good for sterilizing, relieving hemorrhoids…

It tastes good too. It is crispy and juicy, has distinctive mild garlic flavor. I just noticed some websites suggest to make garlic bolt in soup —- I am not sure if this is advisable, though, as if it is cooked for too long, its healthy properties will be much destroyed. In Chinese cuisine, it is normally cooked in quick stir-fried dishes, or salad. It combines well with thinly sliced meat, or stir-fried eggs, also with firm formed tofu.

When buying it, you need to check if it is fresh enough, otherwise, it can be less juicy, and difficult to chew and swallow. Normally the white parts on the tip and end need to be trimmed, especially if it is over mature.

Oh, one more thing, if you cannot get garlic bolt, I found that Spanish ‘ajos tiernos’ tastes very similar, can be used instead.

Ok, enough talking for today, :))) tomorrow will be the actual recipe. :))

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