Kawai or “ngah gu” in Cantonese is a type of bulbous vegetable that is only available during the transitional season between winter and spring. We can buy them from the market about a month before the Chinese Winter Festival or Dong Zhi (Tung Jiat in Cantonese). I know of two popular ways of eating this simple and delicious veg :-
i) steamed whole and then cut into slices to eat with waxed duck and sausages.
ii) stewed with Chinese leeks and meat (tastes equally good if preferred without meat)
However besides cooking, it can be transformed into some unique natural decorative art piece for the Chinese New Year. My mum always have pots of Kawai to add to the Chinese New Year Festive decorations and this is one regime I’ve taken over from her. I feel it really adds on a whole lot of traditional feel to the celebration yet takes very little effort to do.
Here’s how :
Start the sprouting about 25 days before CNY. Select the good ones with solid white good bulbs and a firm long stem. Clean and wash away the soil then soak them in a large container of water. Remember it is important to change the water daily during this time. After several days when shoots start to sprout, it’s time to transfer your creation to a proper decorative container to let it grow. Use decorative stone pebbles to support and hold the bulbs in place. Continue to top up with water every day.
By New Year’s time, I bet you’ll get a nice pot of beautiful green kawai to show-off. There you are totally your own creation to spruce up your Chinese decorations for the new year yet so simple to do and all it cost you is just a little bit of time and money.
By the way, I sprouted 8 bulbs and they’re now about an inch tall now. It’s a real satisfaction to watch their progress each time I change and top up the water.