Ginkgo nuts are the fruit of the ginkgo biloba tree. The nuts are a key ingredient in the vegetarian dish known as Buddha’s Delight or Lohan’s jaai. They can also be added to congee (rice porridge) or used in casserole dishes. In Asian markets, ginkgo nuts in their shells are available as a bulk item, or prepackaged in one-pound net sacks. The one-pound sacks are not expensive, but I find it difficult to use up such a large quantity, so I prefer to purchase one-quarter to half-pound quantities from the bulk bin. Shelled ginkgo nuts are also available canned or in 100-gram vacuum-packs. These packs are imported from China without expiration dates, so it’s not possible to determine their freshness. I would stick with the fresh nuts.
Ginkgo nuts should not be eaten in large quantities. A general rule is for children to eat no more than their age, and no one should eat more than a dozen at a time, and not frequently.
Preparation: Use a nutcracker to break the shells, or gently crush them using the flat side of a cleaver. To remove the inner brown skin, soak in warm water for a few minutes, then rub the skin off with your fingers. The meat of the nut should be light yellow and soft to the touch. Discard any nuts that are dried, hardened, or discolored.
|English name||ginkgo nut|
|Cantonese (Jyutping)||baak6 gwo2|
|Mandarin (Pinjin)||bai2 guo3|
- Wang, Yuan, Warren Sheir and Mika Ono. Ancient Wisdom Modern Kitchen. Da Capo Press, 2010.