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Grandma's Fennel Potatoes 茴香老奶洋芋


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This makes me feel very hungry!


Another easy one to try at home. I must have been a rabbit in a recent past life, I crave for all forms of fennel...but your fennel is not finocchio, the fat bulb with an aniseed flavour that I braise with sardines to make Sicilian pasta. It's impossible to find fennel with fronds in Wales, even the bulbs are rare in the shops, this is the most vegetable-deprived place I've ever lived in.

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Right, @Luxi -- this isn't finocchio or fenouil, with that big delicious bulb being the star. Not sure that European variety grows here at all; I've never seen it for sale. Perhaps the bulb develops if the plant is left in the ground longer. This fine, lacy fennel is popular here as a stuffing for dumplings 饺子, combined with ground pork and ginger. 茴香猪肉饺子


You would really have a treat here at my neighborhood market. Evey time I go there, I find at least one or two fresh vegetables and fruits that I've never even seen before. It's an endless bounty of produce. I'm always torn between buying some of my old favorites and trying something brand new. Wind up doing a little of each.




Wanted to add a footnote about eating things like this dish today that have pieces of broken up or cut up dried red peppers which aren't meant to be chewed and swallowed. They add flavor to the dish, but as you go along you simply pick them out with your chopsticks. If necessary, you just spit them out. That's not impolite or uncommon.


Chinese dishes often have inedible things like that in them when served; small chicken bones used to drive me nuts when I first arrived. Cooks don't feel compelled to remove such superfluous bits in the kitchen; it isn't part of the culinary tradition like it is in the West.


IMG_9335.thumb.JPG.67b5d5a7940da4b0fb224edfa7319166.JPGA prime example would be the process of eating chicken feet 凤爪, in which you spit out more than you swallow.

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Indeed nor part of the eating tradition. But then it is part of the dining and culinary traditions across East Asia to feel free to ask 这怎么吃? or equivalent if one is unacquainted with it. I can't imagine getting a straight answer to "How does one eat this?!" in the Western dining tradition.


However, 谢谢你告诉我们怎么吃!

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Yesterday when out and about I had a tasty dish of fennel and tofu soup 茴香豆腐汤 at lunch. That's not a particularly Yunnan way of serving fennel, but it was a refreshing accompaniment to the rest of the meal.




These fennel fronds are often served in an omelette  here. Sometimes they are just quickly stir-fried with a few almonds and served beside something rich like roast duck 烤鸭。


One of the characteristics of Yunnan cooking is to take something that elsewhere might be used as a minor seasoning ingredient 辅料 or as a garnish 陪料 and making it the star of the show instead. That approach is possible only in places where such ingredients are fresh, abundant, and cheap.


The best example here is mint, where you can buy a big double handful of it very fresh and beautiful for 1 块钱 or maybe even slightly less.


58d07d4b13e84_mintsoup.thumb.JPG.21d1368226b53a86bb2b916519aa0cea.JPGWe looked at mint soup last year.



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  • 1 month later...

Fennel has a pretty long season in Yunnan, probably 5 or 6 months. Seldom see the fat bulb, so popular in southern Europe, though reason tells me it must exist. The lacy fronds are more popular here and more prized. 茴香猪肉饺子 (Pork and fennel dumplings) has become one of my favorite casual Kunming dishes. 

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