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Fried egg with Xiang Chun Toona Sinensis

Xiang Chun Chao Dan {香椿炒蛋}

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 Toona Sinensis}

Xiang Chun {香椿}, or Toona Sinensis, is a popular tree in China, also known as Chinese mahogany. People enjoy the tender young leaves of the tree as a vegetable since ancient times. Fried Egg with chopped tender Xiang Chun leaves is a well-liked traditional dish across China. It features soft scrambled egg mixed with aromatic and flavorful tender Xiang Chun leaves. A pinch of salt, a few drops of cooking oil, and sesame oil is all you need to season this naturally yummy dish.

Xiang Chun leaves have a sharp, appetizingly fragrant aroma and taste. Some people equate the taste and flavor to that of onion. However, Xiang Chun has a more fragrant aroma and doesn’t have irritating effects such as causing eyes to water.

Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 Toona Sinensis}
Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 Toona Sinensis}

Xiang Chun is a popular tree in the Yangtze River Delta area in China

Xiang Chun {toona sinensis} tender leaves growing in early spring
Xiang Chun Tree growing in our backyard

A plant native to Asia, Xiang Chun tree is popular in the Yangtze River Delta, a place I call hometown. The Yangtze River Delta area is also home to naturally delicious Huai Yang cuisine, one of the four Great Tradition of Chinese Cuisine Styles in China.

I have fond memories of picking tender Xiang Chun leaves in early spring in my late grandma’s backyard as a child. She and I would then make all kinds of dishes using the fresh harvest. I am always a huge fan of Xiang Chun.

After high school, I left my hometown to attend college in another city. Upon graduation, I went to work in various cities in China before I came to the U.S. and eventually settled in Chicago. I haven’t had Xiang Chun for a rather long time before I spot a Xiang Chun nursery plant a few years ago. To say I was ecstatic is simply an understatement.

Chinese Toona Sinensis Tree {Xiang Chun}
Xiang Chun Tree {Chinese Toona Sinensis}

Chinese Toona Sinensis Tree has an interesting way of shedding leaves

I planted the Xiang Chun nursery plant in my backyard right away. So glad they are doing well in Chicago’s climate. Xiang Chun is a deciduous plant, therefore they do shed all the leaves in the late fall.

However, it doesn’t just shed leaves like a typical deciduous tree. It sheds the entire branches attached to the main trunk. This will leave the Xiang Chun tree with only the bare main trunks left during the winter. Just imagine a few bare thick sticks in the ground.

Another interesting thing to know is that all the leaves on the branch don’t shed, they stick with the branch. I do notice this makes the fall cleaning easier, all I need to do is to pick up some branches. LOL.

This perplexed my husband big time. He thought, there is no way this stick will come back to life in Spring.

Xiang Chun {tender leaves of toona sinensis}
Xiang Chun {tender leaves of toona sinensis}

Xiang Chun tree’s first leaf buds appear in mid-Spring

He almost thought he was right when Xiang Chun remains silent when spring comes by and early bloomers are flowering everywhere. Then finally mid-spring comes, and Xiang Chun’s reddish pointy buds suddenly appear, usually starting from the top of the major chunk.

Xiang Chun is a kind of late grower, unlike Ju Hua Cai, or chrysanthemum leaves that sprout upon the onset of spring. However, they grow in such a sped-up fashion once they kick start. Within a week, you may see a full green tree provided it has the right temperature and water.

Toona Sinensis {Xiang Chun} tender leaves is a superfood vegetable growing in a tree

Xiang Chun, especially the tender reddish young leaves, is loaded with many essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It contains powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxing substances.

Xiang Chun tender leaves {superfood vegetables growing in a tree}
Xiang Chun tender leaves {superfood vegetables growing in a tree}

TCM {Traditional Chinese Medicine} has been using Xiang Chun to lung-related inflammation and cough. Some people even believe it may help prevent the covid-19 virus. There are researches suggesting that Xiang Chun contains a special compound that may stop a virus from replication in the body.

While Xiang Chun is super nutritious, please do not over-eating it, especially the not so tender leaves. They contain a higher level of minerals, such as nitrate. You do not want to overload the body systems with excessive minerals. For a similar reason you do not want to over-drink beet juice.

As TCM wisely put it, it is all about Yin-Yang balance.

Fried Egg with Xiang Chun Tips

Tender shoots are the best for Fried Egg with Xiang Chun dish

For tender shoots or young leaves, wash and rinse them first and then chop into bite size length. Toss them with a pinch of Himalayan pink salt before adding egg and whisk to mix.

Chopped Xiang Chun Shoots with Egg
Chopped Xiang Chun Shoots with Egg

If the leaves are not that tender, then I recommend blanching the leaves first. Read here to learn more about how to blanch green vegetables.

Add a splash of sesame oil to elevate the taste of Fried Egg With Xiang Chun

Sesame oil truly makes everything taste better. It is the driving force behind the iconic Egg Drop Soup.

Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 Toona Sinensis}

Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 toona sinensis} Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Xiang Chun {香椿}, or toona sinensis, is a popular tree in China. Fried Egg with chopped tender Xiang Chun leaves is a well-liked traditional dish across China. It features soft scrambled egg mixed with aromatic and flavorful tender Xiang Chun leaves.

Ingredients

  • 40 grams of Xiang Chun {toona sinensis} shoots or tender young leaves
  • 4 large eggs, organic or cage free
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp avocado oil

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse Xiang Chun, air dry or pat dry with a paper towel.
    Xiang Chun and eggs
  2. Cut Xiang Chun into bite-size pieces, place in a mixing bowl, add 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt, mix well.
    Chopped Xiang Chun leaves with a pinch of salt
  3. Add 4 eggs, gently whisk and mix well. Add 1/2 tsp sesame oil and whisk again to mix.
    Chopped Xiang Chun Shoots with Egg
  4. turn the heat to medium-high, heat a hard anodized fry pan for 2 minutes. Spray 2 tsp avocado oil or other cooking oil using a homemade oil sprayer. Use a mini silicone spatula to spread evenly across the pan.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Use the same silicon spatula to scrape and clear the egg mixture from the mixing bowl.
  6. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or till the egg starts to solidify. Fold and flip the egg use a slotted turner, and cook for another 30 seconds, or till all egg solidifies.
    Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 toona sinensis}
  7. All done! Enjoy a naturally flavorful and nutritious dish!
    Fried Egg with Xiang Chun {香椿 Toona Sinensis}
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 248mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g

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

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