Frost’s Descent: A savory yam dish for the transitional solar term
Updated 09:44, 26-Oct-2018
By Ye Qing
The Frost’s Descent, or "Shuangjiang" in Chinese, is the 18th of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms, and will last from October 23 to November 7 this year. It is the last autumn solar term, making it a transitional period from autumn to winter. 
As the name suggests, the Frost's Descent period sees a drop in temperature along with the first appearance of frost in the Yellow River region. 
Frost covered cow parsley stalks in winter. /VCG Photo

Frost covered cow parsley stalks in winter. /VCG Photo

On these days, taking care of your health is especially important. People should focus on protecting their bodies from dryness, depression, and cold, as recorded in ancient Chinese books. 

Why eat yams?

Diet should be light during the Frost's Descent as it suggests that it nourishes the lungs and helps with dryness.
Chinese yam /VCG Photo

Chinese yam /VCG Photo

Chinese yam is the best choice for this type of nourishment. Some plants that are not hardy as yams in converting starch into sugar. Yams are delicious and easy to keep for a long time, so it's a good choice beyond this frosty period.
Yams are widely planted in the country's north and northwest regions, along with the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
According to some chefs, if you're looking for yams that are soft, go for the rod-like shape in the video.
The rod-like yams are grown in very strict requirements planting environments. For example, Jiaozuo City in Henan Province is located in the central plain. With an annual average temperature of 14 to 15 degrees, the mild climate is the most suitable for growing this yam. 

How to make a savory yam dish?

Chinese yam, as the main ingredient of the dish, goes well with dates. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the red date also helps add moisture to the body. Of course, green onion, ginger, garlic, oil, salt, and soy sauce are also essential.
This dish helps give people a warm feeling in the transitional period, so it uses the braising cooking method of braising.
Dried dates /VCG Photo

Dried dates /VCG Photo

It should be noted that the Chinese yam should be steamed for 15 minutes after being cut into pieces, to maintain safety and taste.
After that, add steamed red dates and other ingredients like soy sauce, salt, sugar. While sugar enhances the sweet taste of yams, the soy sauce is for coloring and adds a strong flavor.
Also, you can choose to drizzle it with sesame oil before serving.
The dish is soft and suitable for the elderly and children and perfect for welcoming the cold and winter. Click the video and follow the full instructions to make a savory yam dish.
(Video edited by Wu Chutian, cover image by Du Chenxin)