|One of only many translations|
|Dried soy batons|
|Plumped up soy batons|
|Easy to make, easy to love|
|Discard the compressed folds|
|Soy batons resting in the syrupy sauce|
|Don't get this kind|
Soy batons can be found in just about every Chinese market in the dried goods aisle near the beans. Try to find one that is made with non-GMO soybeans, and if it's organic and/or made in the US, feel particularly lucky and go buy a lottery ticket or two to celebrate. Don't get the ones that are machine made in perfect rolls, like the one on the right. These have no texture and open up in the hot water into disappointing wads.
Soy batons crush easily, so expect to find some crumbling going on in the package. If most of the batons are more or less whole, that's great. Use the crumbs in soups or congee, where they lend a nice milkiness and body.
Check the expiration date on the package and smell the batons when you open them up: they should have a fresh, almost nonexistent aroma with not even a suggestion of old oil. Store the unopened package in a dry, dark cupboard. Reseal the package after opening and use it up as soon as possible.
Both the green onions and cilantro here should be fresh and crunchy, as they will also make or break the dish. I always buy them the same day that I plan to make this dish so that the cilantro in particular has a bright, clean taste and offers a loud crunch.