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Toona Sinensis Fritters {香椿饼}

Xiang Chun Bing, A Springtime Delight

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Toona Sinensis Fritters

Toona Sinensis Fritters featuring reddish Toona Sinensis tender leaves are such a springtime seasonal delight. Toona Sinensis, or Xiang Chun {香椿} in Chinese, has a unique sharp fragrant flavor and taste. You do not need any other seasoning other than a tiny of salt. Just chop the Toona Sinensis spring sprouts into small pieces and mix with one egg, and a tiny bit of flour and salt, and enjoy the naturally yummy season fresh delicacy.

Xiang Chun Bing {香椿饼 Toona Sinensis Fritters}

Xiang Chun Fun Facts

Called Xiang Chun {香椿} in Chinese, also known as Chinese mahogany, Toona Sinensis is a popular tree in China, especially in the Yangtze River Delta area.

Xiang Chun is a deciduous tree, which sheds all leaves including the small branches in winter. This usually leaves only the bare main tree trunks standing tall during the winter. Each spring, the tender young Xiang Chun leaves sprout from the Toona Sinensis tree trunks. They look reddish and have a sharp pleasant onion-like flavor and taste.

Dubbed “vegetables growing in the tree”, people in China have been enjoying these delicious tender leaves since ancient times. They are truly a springtime delight.

Xiang Chun {toona sinensis} tender leaves growing in early spring
Tender Xiang Chun leaves in Spring

Toona Sinensis Health Benefits

Xiang Chun leaves are extremely nutritious and loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and detoxing substances. Read here for more about superfood Xiang Chun’s health benefits.

One word of caution, I recommend only eating the reddish tender leaves. The mature green leaves may contain concentrated nitrate. Nevertheless, the situation can be possibly mitigated by blanching the leaves first before cooking.

Chinese Toona Sinensis Tree {Xiang Chun}
Toona Sinensis Sprouts in the Springtime

How to make Toona Sinensis Fritters {Xiang Chun Bing 香椿饼}?

Tip No.1 is to use tender reddish Xiang Chun leaves only if possible

This Toona Sinensis Fritters recipe requires a decent amount of tender reddish Xiang Chuan leaves and is perfect for those who have just harvested a bunch. The tender young leaves taste so delicious and are ideal for this Xiang Chun Recipe.

Xiang Chun Bing {Toona Sinensis Fritters} Ingredients

Tip No.2 is to press semi-dry Toona Sinesis Pancakes for deep frying

For a crunchy texture and refreshing taste, this Xiang Chun Bing Recipe doesn’t use water but only uses one egg to bind the chopped Toona Sinensis leaves and flour to form a semi-dry pancake that has a powdery outer surface. This is similar to how I make zucchini fritters.

The outside of the Soona Sinensis pancakes should be powdery before adding to the deep fryer. To successfully accomplish this, only mix with the flour to press and form the pancakes up to the point when you are ready to deep fry. Otherwise, the flour may absorb liquid and make the pancakes soggy.

freshly hand pressed toona sinensis fritters ready for deep frying

Tip No.3 is to use a proper deep-frying set

A quality wok, coupled with a stainless steel skimmer to fetch food from the hot temperature oil is my go-to deep-frying set. From an oil perspective, avocado oil which is super nutritious and has a high smoking point is my preferred oil for deep frying.

TOONA SINENSIS FRITTERS RECIPE
TOONA SINENSIS FRITTERS RECIPE

Toona Sinensis Fritters {Xiang Chun Bing} Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Toona Sinensis Fritters featuring reddish Toona Sinensis tender leaves are such a springtime seasonal delight. Just mix chopped leaves with a bit of flour and a tiny salt. Enjoy the naturally yummy fresh springtime delight.

Ingredients

  • 160 g fresh tender Toona Sinensis {Xiang Chun} leaves
  • 1 large egg, organic or cage-free
  • 1/2 tsp salt, Himalaya pink salt, or sea salt
  • 250 g all-purpose flour, organic unbleached preferred
  • 4 cups of avocado oil for deep frying

Instructions

  • Gather ingredients. Wash and air dry the tender Xing Chun leaves.
    Xiang Chun Bing {Toona Sinensis Fritters} Ingredients
  • Chop the Toona Sinensis leaves into small pieces, and add to a mixing bowl, along with one egg and 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt.
    chopped tender Xiang Chun leaves in the mixing bowl
  • Use a pair of bamboo or wooden spatulas to toss and mix well.
    mix chopped Toona Sinensis tender leaves with egg and salt in the mixing bowl
  • Add flour into the mixing bowl, toss and mix well using the bamboo spatula set. The mixture should look a little powdery.
    Toona Sinensis mixture for fritters
  • Grab some mixture and press together in the palm and form a ball, and then gradually flatten it using two hands into a pancake. Rotate thumbs and palms in a circular motion, gently while firmly pressing as you rotate, until you have formed a solid Xiang Chuan pancake. Repeat this until you have done all the Toona Sinensis mixture. See here for a detailed tutorial on how to hand press fritters for deep frying.
    freshly hand pressed toona sinensis fritters ready for deep frying
  • Add 4 cups of avocado oil into a wok, turn the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. You know when the oil is ready for deep frying when tiny bubbles start to form.
  • Slowly slide in the Toona Sinensis pancakes into the wok, one at a time. Be very careful about the extremely hot temperature oil. You can generally accommodate 4 regular pancake sized fritters in a 14-inch wok at a time.
    Deep fry Toona Sinensis fritters in the wok
  • Cook for 4 minutes. Flip the fritters using the stainless steel skimmer halfway through to cook the other side.
  • Remove the fritters from the wok using the skimmer, place them on a wire rack over a plate to drain the oil, and cool down.
  • Repeat to cook the other batch of Xiang Chun Bing. This recipe makes about 8 Toona Sinensis Fritters.
  • Enjoy a crispy yummy Toona Sinensis Fritter!
    Xiang Chun Bing {香椿饼}

Notes

  • Use one egg for up to half a pound (approximately 225 g) of Xiang Chun leaves. The volume of flour is about 1.5X the weight of Xiang Chun leaves. The mixture should be powdery, but with a firm press, you can press the mixture into a pancake. Read here for more details.
  • Mix the flour with chopped Xiang Chun leaves when you are ready to deep fry. Do not mix in advance, otherwise, the flour will absorb moisture and become soggy.
  • This recipe uses lots of tender Toona Sinensis leaves, If you only have a small bunch, try the fried egg recipe or the Crepe recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 920mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 16g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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