Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stir Fried Sweet Peas, Baby Corn, Gingko, and Goji Berries with Oyster Sauce (serves 2)

I have never noticed a gingko tree until I visited Japan in 1997. I was there for a nursing exchange with 3 Mayo Clinic nursing colleagues to share ideas (nursing related) with the Japanese nurses. When we were not busy giving talks at the hospitals or schools we would explore Tokyo. I remember one day while walking one of my colleagues thought that one of us must have stepped on dog feces. Of course we all immediately checked our feet and we all denied it was one of us. After walking for a bit it occurred to me that the smell came from the gingko nuts. We all got a sniff of the fruit and we were shocked! I find it fascinating to think who was the first person to discover these nuts, as he/she must have had to get past such a horrible odor to start eating them. It must be during a food shortage or something of this nature!

Eating with moderation is one important concept to remember and adhere to when it comes to consuming certain foods such as gingko nuts. Raw gingko nut meat contains a toxin known as 4-0-methylpyridoxine (MPN). This toxin can be reduced by proper preparation and cooking. However, due to a potential for toxicity it is not recommended to eat large quantities of these nuts in one sitting or over a short course of time. I found a research paper that describes the ginkgo nut in detail: http://arboretum.agnesscott.edu/wp-content/blogs.dir/4/files/2012/05/Ginkgo_Biloba_del_Tredici.pdf


1 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, trimmed roots and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 small white onion, sliced in wedges
10 oz sweet peas, ends trimmed and tough fiber string removed from the sides
8 oz extra small young corn
1/4 C goji berries, soaked in water for 5 minutes, rinsed a few times
1/2 C gingko nuts, rinsed
4 oz seafood mushrooms
1/3 C water mix with 1 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oyster sauce


1) Heat a large pan over medium high heat.  Add oil.
2) Stir in garlic, scallions, ginger, and onion.  Saute for about 2 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
3) Add peas and saute about 2 minutes.  Add corn and goji berries.  Saute about a minute.
4) Add gingko and mushrooms.  Saute about 2 minutes.
5) Add water and cornstarch mixture, salt and oyster sauce.  Saute about another 3-4 minutes or until everything is mix.

*I washed my goji berries since I have no idea how they were dried. I am always a bit skeptical about how clean things are especially for items that I have not dried myself.

green  gingko leaves turn a beautiful
vibrant yellow in the Fall (in Boston Common)
ginkgo tree and leaves in the Fall
(seen in Boston Common)

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