5 Green Chinese Recipe Ideas for Earth Day
By Holly Kellum
Earth Day is right around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’re looking for a way to honour the Earth in a green way that is both mindful and joyful.
This year’s Earth Day (April 22nd, 2020) will be the 50th anniversary of the “largest secular observance in the world,” which is “marked by more than a billion people every year,” according to Earth Day Network.
This year I’ve decided to celebrate this special day by eating only “green” Chinese dishes with ingredients sourced as close to the earth as possible.
Given that most of us eat three meals a day, I can’t think of a more impactful way of showing love for the earth than eating food as Mother Nature intended it: unprocessed, organic, and as close to the farm or garden as possible.
While there’s no one definition for “sustainable food,” for the purposes of these recipes I am defining sustainable as food that’s organic and as local as possible.
Using organic ingredients is not only better for your body because it decreases the number of toxins you ingest, but it’s also better for the environment because it reduces the number of chemicals that seep into the water and soil.
We need to look no further than male frogs turning into females to see the harmful effects of chemicals from our food production.
Using local ingredients not only makes for fresher, better-tasting dishes, but also ensures that your food didn’t have to get on a plane to get to your plate.
The other thing I love about eating locally is the seasonality of it. When you’re eating locally, you’re likely also eating what’s in season, which may have some health benefits.
“According to TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) the thing about the modern diet which is the most unhealthy is that we are able to eat foods all year round that may be grown unnaturally with the use of pesticides, rather than ones grown naturally for only part of the year,” writes Emmie Suttie for Chinese Medicine Living.
The following five Chinese recipes are not only “green” in the colour sense but have at least one vegetable that is (or soon will be) in season in the northern hemisphere.
5 Green Chinese Recipes
1. Asparagus and Shrimp Stir-fry
This asparagus and shrimp stir-fry recipe is a simple—yet classic—dish in Chinese cuisine.
The best time to enjoy this is between February and June, but the prime time is during April. Asparagus is the freshest during April.
2. Chinese Scallion Pancakes
Scallions or green onions are an early spring crop that can be substituted in this recipe for their heartier brethren, chives. This recipe includes a few tips to make these pancakes a success no matter what your cooking abilities are.
3. Spicy Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas
This side dish from Kalyn’s Kitchen has something for all the senses: spicy, sweet, salty and sizzle.
Peas are another early spring crop that you can’t beat when they’re picked fresh.
4. Garlic Scape Stir-fry with Scrambled Eggs
If you’re not familiar with garlic scapes, you’re not alone. This long, pungent vegetable, which many people have never heard of, are actually the tops of the garlic bulbs that grow above the ground.
This recipe by Happyzhangbo’s Kitchen pairs garlic scapes with eggs for a super easy-to-make stir-fry.
5. Instant Pot Chinese Chicken and Broccoli
Broccoli is another hardy spring vegetable that can be grown in colder temperatures.
It’s hard to go wrong with broccoli and a protein, and this recipe by Little Sunny Kitchen adds in the convenience of making it all in a pressure cooker.
I hope you find these green Chinese recipes helpful as a way to celebrate Earth Day this year.
The ancient Chinese valued harmony between man and nature. When humans were in harmony with the natural world, they believed that both were better off. In other words, “sustainability” was their modus operandi.
When you incorporate sustainable foods into your diet, such as local, organic green spring vegetables, you also promote better health, and a better planet.