The secret of this delicious, easy to prepare and inexpensive dish lies in the use of preserved vegetables, which are typical of northern Chinese cuisine. In the north, people must preserve vegetables by salting or pickling, since the winters are long and cold. If you like your dish a bit spicier, like me, use Sichuan preserved vegetables.
For the garnish:
Reprinted from Complete Chinese Cookbook by Ken Hom. Copyright © Firefly Books 2011. Food photography by Jean Cazals copyright © Woodlands Books 2011. Reprinted with permission.
Darra Goldstein is editor in chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, an 888-page reference guide to all things sweet. "The book is really a compendium of human desires, a cultural history of desire for things that are sweet and what it has caused in the world, in both the realm of pleasure and also of pain," she says.