Thursday, March 31, 2011

Garland Chrysanthemum, Tong-Ho or 茼蒿

To me, Tong-Ho 茼蒿 means hotpot! At least, that is what happens in Singapore, or rather in my family. The only time we have Tong-Ho is during Chinese New Year since this is the best time to find us enjoying hotpot.

I never found out more about Tong-Ho 茼蒿 (and other ways to cook it other than in soups!) till recently when I was sick for the whole month of February and March - down and out, attacked by some strange cold or allergy bug that caused me to cough like mad (accompanied by nasal congestion).

Then one day, my friend prepared a dish of Tong-Ho 茼蒿 Salad (almost similar to how this Chinese Celery and Tofu Salad - 芹菜拌香干 was prepared), asking me to try; and at the same time told me Tong-Ho 茼蒿 is quite good in relieving cough (reducing phelgm).

I did not know Tong-Ho 茼蒿 were part of Chrysanthemum Leaves till I saw them as Garland Chrysanthemum at Indonesia-Eats. Edible Garland Chrysanthemum,Tong-Ho 茼蒿, also called Shingiku in Japan, is like a herb-leaf-vegetable with medical benefits, not only good for reducing phlegm, relieving coughs, but also moisten the lungs and strengthen the liver. Tong-Ho 茼蒿  can even calm our nerves, help us sleep better and balance the energy (qi) in our body. Now, I can appreciate Tong-Ho and its benefits not only in soups, but in salads and even steamed dishes!

Tong-Ho may taste unique (bitter and astringent) to some but I love it. Errr....I am the bittermelon-cilantro-kind-of-gal, so Tong-Ho does not scare me away. In the US, specifically California, they are available in Asian supermarket - 99 Ranch.

I hope those at Weekend Herb Blogging #277 (March 28th - April 3rd) hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook get to know this vegetable if they are totally unfamiliar. It is a healthful vegetable and if you happen to see them, I hope you try them too.

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