Ginkgo NutsGinkgo Nuts
Found throughout Asia, ginkgo nuts are the ivory bittersweet seeds of the ginkgo tree, a plant botanists consider the oldest living thing on earth. Throughout the East, ginkgo seeds are believed to promote long life, have aphrodisiacal properties and bring good luck. Ginkgo nuts are available canned at Japanese grocers like Sanko or fresh at Chinatown herbalists. Before using them in soups or stir-fries, rinse the brine from canned ginkgos. Fresh nuts should be cracked open and placed in boiling water for a few minutes; then peel off their inner skins. Gingko nuts turn bright green when cooked.
Some New Agers think this easy recipe for scallops with ginkgo nuts calms the nerves and relieves asthma. Blanch 10 scallops in boiling water for a few seconds. Drain and set aside. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil over medium-high heat and stir-fry 20 shelled ginkgo nuts briefly before adding the blanched scallops, stirring regularly. After 2 minutes, reduce heat to medium and add a mixture of 1 teaspoon of tapioca flour and 2 tablespoons of water to the wok, stirring until sauce thickens. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with a dozen deep-fried basil leaves.