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.
Chef Sean Brock, author of Heritage, grew up in a town where seed saving was a way of life. "You just saved these seeds not because you were poor, but because you really loved the flavor of a particular tomato or a particular bean," he says.