Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs With Brown Mushrooms

I was looking around at the vegetable shelves of a local supermarket the other day and saw some packs fresh Lily bulbs from China on display. Known as Pak Hup (Cantonese) or Baihe (Mandarin) which means 'hundred together,' refering to the many 'scales' or petals forming the bulbs ~ it's a species of genus Lilium, mostly Westerners thought as beautiful ornamentals yet it has many usage not only in culinary but also in tradtional medicines...

Various bulbs of edible lilies have long been consumed by humans in Eastern Asia and other parts of the world. Besides eating them fresh or raw in cooking, this humble Lily bulb also have medicinal properties used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) mostly in dried lily petals to be boil together with other herbs in a special traditional clay pot over a stove or double-boiler) to treat certain ailments in our body. 

It's one of my favourite plant that's quite difficult to find if it's not in the season. I tried to find better ones among the packs but sometimes (most of time actually) the exporter purposely arranged the bulbs in such a way that you won't be able to peek at the conditions of the bulbs! Well, I tried my best as you can see from the pics below... :-( The craving to eat them got the better of me though... I salvaged as much as I could from this pack I bought. What's interesting about this bulbs are it can be cook in savoury or sweet as dessert. Some cooks parboil the bulbs to remove the bitterness before adding to dishes which I think unnecessary because it's not that bitter compared to bitter gourd. The petals/bulbs became mushy very quickly if parboil first and then cook again. A bit of bitterness is good to keep our pancreas in healthy condition ... :-)

Packed Fresh Lily Bulbs in 2 portions

Peeled petals of Lily Bulbs

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs with Brown Mushrooms in Sake
Serves 1-2

1 pack Fresh lily bulbs (a pack comes with 2 Lily bulbs) - cleaned, 
separate into petals & remove any bruised part on petals.

20 g Fresh Green peas
200 g Brown Mushrooms - cleaned and sliced
15 ml Shoyu/Light Soya Sauce or accordingly to your taste
2 pips Garlic-minced
20 ml Cooking oil of your choice
20 ml Sake to taste (more if you like :-P )

1. Heat up a deep pan or a wok with cooking oil.
2. When oil is hot, add in the minced garlic. Fry until it's fragrant but not burnt.

Note: To know when the oil is hot; You will see smoke coming out from the oil or dip a wooden skewer/chopstick into the oil, if there are bubbles appeared at the dipped end-the oil is ready!

3. Add in the sliced Brown mushrooms and cook until slightly wilted or shrink. Add in the green peas. Stir for few minutes...
4. Add in the fresh Lily bulb petals; Stir the petals gently so as not to break apart the soften petals (you would see that the petals became transparent after cooking.) 
5. Add in shoyu and sake to taste. Mix the ingredients well. 

Note: If you don't have sake, you can also use Shaoxing Wine or Dry Sherry. Only differencs between Sake and Shaoxing Wine are the flavour intensity and colour.

6. Dish out and serve with hot rice/noodles as side dish or appetiser with sake/beer... :-) 



  1. Although I am not familiar with these bulbs the dish sounds delicious.

  2. Good idea of cooking the Pak Hup, I only use it for boiling my spare ribs soup.

  3. Hi Ivy,

    I'm acquainted to it only recent years because it's difficult to find fresh bulbs. I love the fragrant and sweet taste with a hint of bitterness this bulbs produced... Most of the time, it's available dried from the Traditional Chinese Medicine shops. It's only lately, I can find them in local supermarket prepack in dried petals. It's only the fresh bulbs are used in stir-fry and even as dessert! Dried petals are soak first until soften and then add into soups. Maybe the dried version can be cooked until soften and make into fillings for pastries just like lotus seeds... :-) May be we can find out more info from the florist which Lily plant has edible bulb? I think, she may not that happy because from bulb she earn nothing compared to when it's blooming with flowers... :-D

  4. Hi CK,

    Perhaps you can try adding fresh Pak Hup at the last minutes of boiling the soup. This will prevent the petals become overcook and mushy. I discovered that when I added petals too early in soup (sometimes, totally forgot about it floating in soup) and it turned mushy ~ almost melted into the liquid :-D

  5. Welcome back from your vacation :) It's been a long while since I've visited you. I'm like Ivy, unfamiliar with the bulbs. But your pictures are so beautiful and wonderful, I can[t help but do some more research on what you've shown us!

  6. Hi Nikki,

    How are you? Glad to see you as well :) IT's a weird bulb isn't it? I must contact one of my former course mate who's a florist about this lily bulbs... hope she can shed some light... :-D

  7. Thank you Pixen. I love it when I find out about an ingredient I've never seen before. It makes life feel fresh and new again!

  8. hi Tom,

    You're welcome :-) Life's full of surprises and when you look hard enough, they are there all the time. Please do visit my blog again... I hope to see your blog too.

  9. Ranch 99 starts selling fresh lily bulbs,
    Maybe I should give it a try too,
    Never cook lily bulbs before.

  10. I am going to keep an eye for these bulbs.


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