All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kuchinashi / shan zhi zi / zhi zi / dried gardenia fruit

Gardenia -- a small shrub with aromatic pure white blossoms against glossy dark green leaves -- is a relatively common garden plant and is also seen as a houseplant at supermarket florist sections.

What's available at Asian grocery stores and Chinese herbal medicine shops is its dried fruit, which looks like brown rose hips.

Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides Ellis) fruit contains crocin, a soluble natural carotenoid -- a pigment found in saffron. The stuff from this little rugged-looking plant turns water orange. It is used for coloring food (pastries, buns and rice, as well as to enhance the intrinsic yellow hue of sweet potatoes and chestnuts).

In Chinese herbal medicine, it is used to treat jaundice (a symptom of liver disease), inflammation, bleeding, fever, etc.

Recipes with kuchinashi

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