Stir-fried taicai stem is quite smooth and dense in texture. Remove its outer skin, then add mushrooms and new bamboo shoots to make a soup. It is very good stir-fried with shelled shrimp.
1Taicai (台菜) is a rather confusing name since it could refer to many things, among them seaweed, a variety of mustard greens, or celtuse. The latter is now days more commonly known as wosun (窩筍) but also still occasionally referred to as taicai, though that is more commonly written as ”苔菜”. Adding to the utter confusion of things, taicai can also mean Taiwenese cuisine. However given that later in the chapter we have an entry for celtuce named using a more common name woju (萵苣), this recipe is likely not celtuce, but probably more a mustard green with thick stems such as “Choy Sum”, “Gailan” or one of the Western Mustards. Indeed there are soups of kailan stems when the tougher outer skin of the stem is removed. As well in the Pork Chapter, a recipe for Cauliflower refers to the mustard that produced the cauliflower as “taixincai” (台心菜), which points to the ingredient as the stem of cauliflower. Still, with the amount of ambiguity and the nagging suspicion that maybe this is still celtuce, I’ve decided to go by the pronunciation instead of listing out the vegetable’s name, and let the reader use their own judgement instead.
2To my knowledge nuo (糯) has two different meanings. The word is usually used with “rice” (米) to indicate sticky rice, or noumi (糯米). However, peeled mustard stem is not sticky, thus the word most likely refers to the dense smooth and fine-grained texture of the vegetable stem. Still, I will concede that there may be other meaning out there that I don’t know about.