Market Monday: This Bud’s for You

16 Sep

Daylily Buds

On nice weekend mornings, Mr. SOK likes to ride his motorcycle on the windy mountain roads surrounding KL. My reward for staying at home with the baby is a load of fresh vegetables, as there are a bunch of farms that take advantage of the (relatively) cool air. This is where Malaysians grow things like lettuce and strawberries and mushrooms, which would wilt in the tropical heat of the lowlands. This week he brought back fresh wood ear mushrooms and daylily buds (also called golden needles in Chinese).

Though you’re not likely to find daylily buds at the supermarket any time soon, they’re widely eaten in both East and West, and since they’re such a common garden plant, they’re also an entry in Foraging 101. Just Google “daylily bud recipes” and you’ll get tons of hits. Most call for a simple approach, like a stir-fry or saute, to preserve the delicate flavor of the buds. I decided to riff on mu shu pork, which traditionally calls for daylily buds and wood ear mushrooms, and make a stir-fry with the buds, some fresh wood ear mushrooms also procured from the highlands, and chicken.

The buds are very tasty, with a texture similar to very fresh, tender green beans, and a flavor that’s a combination of vegetal and sweet. Unfortunately, both Mr. SOK and I appear to be in the small minority of people (about 2%) with a sensitivity to daylilies. We had eaten them before, during the unfortunate episode with the chili peppers of doom, but it appears that some of the ill effects might have been due to the buds, as we both got sick that evening. (I had both the mushrooms and the chicken the next day without incident, so by process of elimination, it had to be the buds.) I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone from raiding their own flower garden, but maybe try a few out (cooked) before going whole hog and throwing a daylily bud party.

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