Zhé’ěrgēn Cold Dish in Yunnan

Zhé’ěrgēn (Chinese: 折耳根) is the edible rhizome of Houttuynia cordata (Yuxingcao, 鱼腥草 ‘fish smelling leaf’) with a fresh, spicy, peppery flavour that is used in southwestern Chinese cuisine, i.e. that of Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnanand western Guangxi. Typically the leaves are eaten in Sichuan and the root in Guizhou. Zhé’ěrgēn fried with cured ‘la rou’ (a dried meat resembling ‘Chinese bacon’) is one of the staple dishes of Guizhou.

Notable uses include:

  • part of the extensive fried rice cuisine of Guizhou
  • a condiment to migan and mixian noodles when served in broth
  • as a component of dipping sauces used with the Shiping and Jianshui tradition of barbecued tofu
  • raw consumption as part of cold-tossed salads, when it is most frequently combined with coriander, vinegar, fresh chilli, and soy sauce.

The leaves are also a little peppery and are frequently consumed in the region.