Dried Lily: Ingredient Profile of an Edible Flower

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Dried Lily Bulbs

There are many strange things at the Asian grocers, things that people don’t recognize. Whole aisles consist of bags of dried…stuff. You wander the aisle asking “Is that a bug?” “Is that an animal product?” “Are those eyes?” “What is that?!” There’s no need to be scared or intimidated. These things, my friends, are food. With a little water, they become somewhat recognizable and are essential ingredients in making a dish taste a particular way that you cannot make it taste otherwise.

Dried lily is one of my favorite dish plant/spices. After being dried, a nuanced zesty, fresh, cooling, and slightly sour taste is concentrated. It is the perfect accent to meat dishes in the winter time because it nourishes lung yin, which is susceptible to being damaged in this season. The dryness of winter calls for such a spice. To describe the flavor a bit more, it is a great substitute for bamboo shoots, which are better for stomach heat anyways (perhaps better suited in the late spring and summer). It also has a slight umami flavor so it complements and replaces mushrooms quite well. When stored in a dry cool place, they have a very long shelf life.

To prepare, all you have to do is soak in water for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

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See? Already looks kind of like bamboo shoots.

Dried lilies are excellent when partnered with chicken

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Sorry, this is blurry but it was delicious. Dried lilies with shitake, chicken, and napa cabbage stewed with glass noodles.

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Dried lilies cooked in a stone pot with chicken, chestnuts, shitakes, and carrots. Yum!

These recipes will come later!

Now, just because this dried lily is an edible flower, you must beware. You can’t just go around picking lilies, drying them, and eating them! The lily family is known to be quite poisonous even though some beloved foods are related to that family like onions and garlic. So the safest source is going to be a packaged variety from a grocery store. So pick some up and start creating!

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