What's louhao (蘆蒿), or common wormword? Though its name suggests its common, it's quite an opposite case for the plate. It is not commonly heard of even in China, except in a scenic city called Nanjing, of where all the Nanjingers are crazy about this regional plant. Known in Latin as 'artemisia selengensis,' it is said that the Nanjingers can talk to you about this vegetable like a machine gun once the topic is triggered; and that they'd feel remorse if common wormword is missing from the menu when they're hosting a dinner (they'd also feel quilty if the salted duck is not included, people in Nanjing overall are quite mindful about food sentimentally).
But there's a technique in eating it. You have to discard the leaf of the plant otherwise it will all remind you the ancient proverb that goes "as bitter as wormword" too well. Only the stems are used in cooking (picky gourmets in Nanjing goes further to eat only the tip of the stems: 80% of the veggie is discarded). The best way to cook the louhao is to stir fry it. Dishes like the topic, the stir-fried common wormword with slivers of Chinese sausage and stir-fried common wormword with slivers of stinky bean curd are all classics among Nanjing cuisine.
Common wormword: 300-400g
Red pepper: one, chopped
Garlic: one clove
Ginger: 2 slices
Vegetable oil: 3 tsp
Raise the common wormword thoroughly and drain, chop it into strips lengths about 2 inches. Chop the pork into slivers.
Heat the wok to high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the heated wok. When the oil is ready, add the ginger; fry briefly.
Add the pork to the wok, and brown briefly. Add the common wormword and stir-fry until nearly cook through. Next, add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant (no more than half minute). Add the red pepper, fry a short while (mostly for garnish). Remove from the wok.
Serve 3 to 4.
Tricks of the trade:
It is very easy to overcook the common wormwood; always add it after the pork.
Add salt if desired but as little as possible because the highlight of this green is its lightness and sweetness. Real Nanjingers never add flavorings to this dish.