I've tried many dishes made with golden needle flowers 金針花, but was only introduced to its flower buds during recent years.
Unlike the vibrant orange colored flower, the flower buds come in solid green colors. One big palm-ful of flower buds costs $1 U.S. here in Taiwan, considered expensive as opposed to all other fresh vegetables available in the market.
The blooming flowers are usually sun-dried and then used in soup or stew dishes. As for the flower buds, my mom used them and made a stir-fry dish before. I'll be the copy cat this time and create my version of stir fry golden needle flower buds.
1 cup of fresh golden needle flower buds
1 1/2 cups of mixed brown beech and white beech mushrooms
4 garlic cloves
2 fresh red chilies
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoons of soy sauce
Some sea salt
Some freshly ground black pepper
Gently rinse and pat dry the mushrooms. Wash the flower buds and soak them in water for about 10 minutes. Once done, drain well, pat dry, and set aside for later use.
Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Discard the bottom stems from the chilies and finely chop the remaining -
My mom got those tongue-burning chilies from a local farmer. Usually I would say use 3 to 4 chilies for this recipe back in the states. However, these little devils are so fierce, 2 is enough (maybe still too much).
Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in chopped garlic slices and chilies. Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper to flavor the oil. Cook till the garlic starts to turn golden color.
Add in the mushrooms and just a tiny bit of salt to draw out the liquid. Give it a quick stir. Once the mushrooms are about 60% done, toss in the flower buds. Cook for another minute. You can definitely cook a wee bit longer if softer texture of the mushrooms is desired.
Lastly, drizzle some soy sauce down from the edge of the pan as our last seasoning. Make sure to drizzle from the sides so the soy fragrance can be released fully when touching the hot surface. Give it a quick stir and transfer the veggies onto a plate.
The flower buds remain crunchy even after cooking for a period of time. It's kind of like eating bean pods, but on a more delicate scale. The texture is finer accompanying with an elegant aroma. I'll make sure to post another recipe using the flower part sometime in the future!
Other vegetable stir-fry recipes:
Stir fry onchoy with shrimp paste and fish sauce 蝦醬空心菜
Spicy and garlicky stir fry shrimps with asparagus and button mushrooms