kake: The word "菜單" (Chinese for "menu") in various shades of purple. (菜單)
[personal profile] kake

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 jiāotiger-skin chillies (large, relatively mild chillies pan-fried until the skins blister)
青椒土豆絲qīng jiāo tǔ dòu sīshredded potatoes with green peppers
椒鹽豬扒jiāo yán zhū bāsalt-and-pepper pork chop
剁椒蒸魚duò jiāo zhēng yústeamed fish with chopped salted chillies
燒椒皮蛋shāo jiāo pí dànpreserved eggs with grilled chillies
黑椒鱔球hēi jiāo shàn qiúblack pepper eel

Edit: There's a great comment from [identity profile] sunflower on another of my posts listing various words with 椒 in.

Footnote: [0] 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

If you have any questions or corrections, please leave a comment (here's how) and let me know (or email me at kake@earth.li). See my introductory post to the Chinese menu project for what these posts are all about.
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