Stems and leaves treated meticulously

Stems and leaves treated meticulously

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

There is enjoyment to be found in the single-minded attentiveness devoted to picking only such part of that stem or only this leaf. Knowing how time consuming and painstaking the preparation of such ingredients can be, it’s hoped that the elements of this dish are enjoyed at leisure rather than gulped down in seconds.

For the syrup


Quantity Ingredient
200g sugar
100ml strained lemon juice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 drops sesame oil

For the stems, leaves, pods and roots

Quantity Ingredient
1/4 bunch unmarked chrysanthemum leaves
4 spring onions
6 LARGE PODS broad beans
4 radishes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
12 large sorrel leaves
peanut oil, for deep-frying

For the tomato broth

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg ripe red tomatoes
50ml balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons dried longan
6 dried red dates
2 tablespoons dried goji
1/2 star anise
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cloves
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 piece liquorice root
1 piece angelica root
2cm piece of y oung ginger, bruised
1 tablespoon cognac


  1. Make the syrup:
  2. Place the sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook until caramelised. Add 100 ml water and keep the heat on low until the caramel dissolves. Add the lemon juice and let the mixture reduce until syrupy. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce, salt and sesame oil. Cool.
  3. Prepare the stems, leaves, pods and roots:
  4. Thoroughly wash and dry the chrysanthemum leaves as they can be very sandy. Trim the spring onions by cutting off the green tops and separate the stem into individual layers. Blanch in boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh under cold water then dry. Shell the broad beans then blanch them in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and refresh under cold water so the skins can be peeled off easily when cool enough to handle.
  5. Preheat the oven to 50°C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Dip the chrysanthemum leaves, scallions, radish slices and sorrel in the syrup and lay on the prepared trays. (Keep the syrup as you’ll need it later.) Put the trays in the oven to dry for 8 hours or overnight (ideally, this should be done in intense sunlight for a day). The leaves should be crunchy and the more hardy items such as radish should be chewy.
  6. Make the tomato broth:
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, place in a bowl and mix with the balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar. Marinate for 30 minutes. Spread them in a single layer on a large enough baking tray and roast for up to 1 hour, when the tomatoes should be caramelised and charred on the edges. Use any juices from the marinating to baste the tomatoes occasionally. Remove from the oven and put the tomatoes in a pan.
  8. Meanwhile soak the longan, red dates and gojis in cold water for 30–40 minutes until softened. Drain and add to the tomatoes. Spread the star anise, coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns and fennel seeds on a baking tray and roast in the oven until fragrant. Add to the tomatoes. Now add all the remaining ingredients to the tomato pot and cover with water. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the taste and smell tells you that everything has been extracted into the infusion. Taste for salt. The broth should be slightly acid, quite sweet but also very savoury. Strain through a fine sieve.
  9. Assemble the dish:
  10. Quickly deep-fry the broad beans in peanut oil and then dip them in the syrup. Arrange the vegetables in individual bowls and pour in hot broth to drown them like soup. Serve immediately.
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