Since it's my Chinese menu blog anniversary this week, I'm letting myself off the constraint of having a theme. So today's character is simply my favourite character that I've not posted about yet: 椒 (jiāo), the Chinese character for "pepper".
I am quite keen on all kinds of pepper, including chillies (辣椒/là jiāo), bell peppers (菜椒/cài jiāo), pickled chillies (泡椒/pào jiāo), black pepper (黑椒/hēi jiāo), and Sichuan pepper (花椒/huā jiāo).
I'm not actually sure, though, how you tell if 椒 alone on a menu refers to chillies or bell peppers. For example, I'm not sure whether 雙椒茄條 (shuāng jiāo qié tiáo)[see footnote] is aubergine with red and green chillies, or aubergine with red and green bell peppers. I've even eaten it! I just can't remember whether they were relatively thick-walled mild chillies or relatively thin-walled bell peppers. (Perhaps the difference between these two isn't a hugely important one, given that they're all capsicums anyway.)
Anyway, here are some dishes with 椒 in the name:
|虎皮尖椒||hǔ pí jiān jiāo||tiger-skin chillies (large, relatively mild chillies pan-fried until the skins blister)|
|青椒土豆絲||qīng jiāo tǔ dòu sī||shredded potatoes with green peppers|
|椒鹽豬扒||jiāo yán zhū bā||salt-and-pepper pork chop|
|剁椒蒸魚||duò jiāo zhēng yú||steamed fish with chopped salted chillies|
|燒椒皮蛋||shāo jiāo pí dàn||preserved eggs with grilled chillies|
|黑椒鱔球||hēi jiāo shàn qiú||black pepper eel|
Footnote:  雙 (shuāng) means "pair" or "double", so 雙椒 means two kinds of peppers, usually red and green. 條 (tiáo) means "long narrow piece" or "strip", so 茄條 is aubergine sliced into strips.
|椒:||jiāo||radical 75 (木)||Cantodict||MandarinTools||YellowBridge||Zhongwen|