There are no obvious signs of winter in the west of Sichuan, and the cold wind is gentle.The sky is always gray and the sun is always hiding behind the thick clouds. The weather is too wet to dry a clothes, and it always reminds me of vegetables pickedin winter.
There is no grand snow scene in the west of Sichuan which is gorgeous. But the winter food here makes the cold season special. Junle, a town in Pengzhou,Chengdu, is now producing the best partner of winter meat. Junle uses various favorable seasoningvegetablesto impresspeople with the reputation of its name, the land of abundance.
The winter of Junle is green with thousands of lush flowers and trees making your heart jealous its vitality. You might mistakenly think that is the season of spring, if you are not wearing the heavy winter clothes. And the fruitful autumn in October expresses the connotation and mood of fields in western Sichuan.
In Winter, the cold stimulates people's preference for hot and spicy, let alone for SIchuan people who are addicted to spice and meat. Therefore, large and small hot pot restaurants and chuanchuan restaurants’ business is booming. The spicy smell is floating over the streets, all over the city. Sichuan cuisine pays attention to complex taste, in addition to the spicy red shiny pepper, seasonal production of fresh spicy vegetables can also make this cold winter in Chengdu rejuvenated. The pot of red soup, the heat of large pieces of meat and the smell of vegetables make winter there full of warmth and satisfaction.
The smell of green onions in Mamu River
Junyue is a special and magical place. Jiang Wei in Three Kingdoms, Zhang Xianzhong in the late Ming Dynasty, Lan Dashun in Xianfeng of Qing dynasty and other ancient generals reclaimed and recuperated there. Mamu River ,a branch of Renmin River and Qianjiangyan River, created the wetland landscape in Junle. Mamu River, with a strong sense of ancient military became the main water source of the the current vegetable cultivation.
As we all know, Pengzhou is the garden of Chengdu. The public consumption of seasonal vegetables of people in Chengdu are mostly produced in Pengzhou. But in Hongxing, a village in Junle town near the Mamu River, there are not many vegetables planted. Instead,the whole village plants onions.The history of cultivating onions is not long. To develop the agricultural introduction,they changed to plant Japanese green onions. The farmers complete the whole process from the seed, nursery, to ridge, colonization and the final receipt of cleaning and sorting in the fields. The onions can be harvested three to four seasons in a year. Not only the economic benefits, but, from the aspect of labor intensity, is also better than harvesting grain.
According to the villagers, they used to plant Shandong green onions.The green onions are long up to a foot, shaping like a whip. So they called it The Whip Onions. The onion bar, is also called the scallion. now the scallops are far more than a foot,since the Japanese green onions are more suitable for Junle’s soil, coupled with the use of organic fertilizers. The onions farmers showed us his onions which is higher than a personwhich worth the name,“the giant green onions”.
In the north, green onions are generally planted in Spring, transplanted in Summer and harvested in Autumn. But in Junle town, there are batches of green onion sowedand harvested , even in Winter. If the onions are planted in winter, then can not be harvested until the second year. But the onions can bear the cold and grow in the fields of Junle. In the first month of the second year, when the weather is getting a little warmer, you can see the sprouts spike and break out of the ground. The spring onions are white and tender with green and thick leaves.The raw onions have very spicy taste.Therefore,the onion famers call it the frost onions. The frost onions are the most suitable ingredients for raw food, or mixed vegetables. Its color is so vivid that it seems like the spring is coming. Moreover, the frost onions can not only use for snacks, spices, but also special tonic, due to the specialty of the local soil. It can help restore the body function including healinganemia, low blood pressure, cold by eating frost onions,.
Onions in Junle are easy to cultivate. The requirements of the growth are particularly simple: need no fertilization and weeding. If you bring a bunch of green onions to the city, and put it readily in a small bowl, add some water, it can also live long and continue to give birth to small buds. Junle’s green onions were sorted, stripped and tied to wash in the cool water of Mamu River. watching the white and green onion swaying in the water can be like an enjoyable experience you’ve ever had.
Junle onion is good beyond its ordinary look. Cooking with onion can add fragrant to the dishes and decrease thesticky smell of the raw ingredients.The dishes could be extraordinarily odd without green onions that no chef in the world dares to ignore it. Im the Compendium of Materia Medica, the onion is a traditional Chinese medicine. Eating onions can heal cold and has the function of detoxification. Even the Duke of Zhou has the discretion of dreaming onions. If you dream of green onions, it indicates that you may have a secret to be exposed, and you will feel embarrassed; if you dream of eating green onions, itindicates that everything goes well; if businessmen dream of selling green onions,it means their business would be booming.
We should pay respect for the Junle onions. “Fried” it into a vegetable star does not seem too much. Its fragment can always be so harmonious in every dish . Although various dishes are on the dinner table, myappetite is always stimulated by the fragrance of the green onions firstly. However, you might never find its name on the menu.
Enjoying the simple enjoyment given by Junle green onions, you are also able to feel its legendary history happened on the beach of Muma river with the mixed smell of the tasty winter meat.
The charm of parsley
In the winter, the happiest thing is to put the parsley in the mutton soup with the mouthful of fragrance, and the happiness you will get would be no less than the first kiss. Pure meat flavor is too greasy,but it becomes oil not greasy anymore with the parsley.And in this winter, when the leaves are withered and the green vegetables are rotten,the season of parsley is coming,
In Hongxing village of Junle town, green onions are often planted with parsley, scallions, garlic sprouts or chives. At the buddhists’ view, although these plants are vegetables, they are considered as meat or fish because of the strong taste. Vatican Network said: “If you want to be a buddhist, you can not eat the five spice.”.The five spice refers to garlic,leek,onions and scallions, the so called Jiaotou.And until after the Tang Dynasty, the parsley is also regarded as the five spice.That means the vegetables that Junle farmers mostly plant, are all belonging to the five spice.The magic coincide can be the gift of all food lovers.
Parsley, one of the Five Spice,,native to the Mediterranean Sea in Europe,is also known as the western coriander initially. According to the Museum of Tang Dynasty, Zhang Qian introduced the coriander, from the Western Regions in 119 BC Western Han dynasty, so it was firstly named the western coriander. Han and Tang were the periods that the national and the nomadic raced fiercely for the land, but also the popular periods of eating mutton and beef in the Central Plain.In this context, the western parsley became exotic because of the popularity among the barbarians.
Closer to home, afterparsley coming into China, the folk mainly used it for seasoning, such as Lanzhou beef noodles or Xi'an mutton bubble steamed.These dishes would be not authentic without parsley. In Sichuan, parsley is also a perfect match for hot pot.The parasley can be added to discs with sesame oil and marched garlic ,and cooked independently as well. The soil of Junle town isbalancing in acid and alkali,giving the parsley rich fragrance.The plants are taller than the parsley grown in other parts of the western Sichuan. When you having hot pot in Junle town, you would have to order the green parsley.You can put the whole parsley with roots and leaves into the thick soup, and put it in your bowl when it’s medium well.You will taste the heavy and the light fragrance at the same time coming from the different parts of the parsley.
Due to the irritating smell of the Junle parsley, generally,the plants do not need pesticides. It is close to the organic food, which is very suitable for raw food, tea and cooking. Raw parsley can help improve metabolism and to lose weight. Junle parsley was sold overseas in recent years, in addition to supply the Chengdu market.It is popular to make tea with the parsley in Japan now. They believe that the parsley tea can exclude oil much effectively than lemon tea and mint tea.The method is just to boiled the parsley with roots and leaves. Now in Tokyo, there is a parsley restaurantcalled Parsley House, which has a variety of dishes made with parsley, from raw parsley, fried parsley, parsley ice cream to parsley biscuits.And the business is extremely hot there.
Survey data shows that there are about 1/7 of the people do not love the smell of parsley, describing it like soap. In fact, each food or person has its personality, some are moderate, some are strong, and some are maverick. And people may notlove food like parsley and durian which have strong smell at first ,or even hate them. But some people would gradually fall in love with them later.It is just like meeting someone you love,feeling nothing at first,falling in love because of the beauty inside of her and sticking on to the relationship for the whole life and never getting tired of loving her.
That’s why we are more willing to compare Junle parsley to Xinjiang’s dancer, or Hu Ji, the beauty in Tang dynasty with curly hair, long braids, slim waist, sending forth fragrance from her body.
Transportation: about 1.5 hours by car
Free exercise: take bus at Wukuaishi Bus Station from Chengdu to Pengzhou,then take bus 110 from Pengzhou Transport Center Station to Junle town.