Urban foraging: creating great food while saving money

Ryan Boyd
Urban foraging: creating great food while saving money

It’s springtime, and in amongst the fresh flowers popping up are some hidden treasures.

In the below video, urban forager Cindy Wang shows how you can take the ubiquitous onion weed and incorporate it into a variety of dishes.

If you feel inspired, under the video are some of Cindy’s recipes so you can try them at home.


Onion Weed Pork Burger

Ingredients: The pattie

  •   500g pork or beef mince
  •   2 cups of onion weed, finely chopped
  •   1 egg
  •   1 cup bread crumbs
  •   1 tbsp soy sauce
  •   Sichuan pepper sauce
  •   Sichuan chilli sauce
  •   Salt and pepper


Ingredients: The Sauce

  •   1 cup onion weed,
  •   2 tbsp mayo
  •   2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  •   1 clove garlic, finely diced
  •   1 tbsp lemon juice
  •   1 tbsp Mustard sauce


Ingredients: To Serve

  •   Burger Buns
  •   Avocado
  •   Lettuce
  •   Pickles


Method: Pattie

  1. Add a pinch of salt to onion weed, rubbed it in, leave it to stand for 10 mins

  2. Mince in a mixing bowl: add the sauce, salt and pepper to taste, add egg, thoroughly mix it through

  3. Squeeze out any liquid in the onion weed, then add it to the mince, mix it through, form into patties.

  4. Heat up the oil, cook the patties about 4-5 mins each side until cooked in the centre


Method: Sauce

Heat up 1 tsp oil, add onion weed, cook until fragrant. Put in a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients from the sauce list, mixed it through.


Method: To Serve

Slice the bun horizontally, toast it if you wish, then top it with the very yummy onion weed sauce, pattie, pickles, lettuce and avocado.

Tip: Onion weed sauce can be a tasty alternative to straight mayo in many things.


Bean Jelly (a Sichuan specialty)


  •   1 cup green pea flour
  •   5 cups of water
  •   One cups of onion weed, finely chopped
  •   2 tbsp of oil
  •   1 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean sauce



  •   1 tbsp soy sauce
  •   Sichuan pepper sauce
  •   Sichuan chilli sauce
  •   Sesame oil



  1. Add the flour and water into a cooking pot, stir it through

  2. Heat up the pan only when the mixture is ready

  3. Stay with the pot, keep stirring, the white mixture will turn opaque once it is boiling, continue cooking and stirring for couple more minutes until it becomes thick and almost transparent.

  4. Leave it to cool for 4-5 hours or until set.

  5. Once the bean jelly is ready, gently remove the edge away from the pot, then turn the pot upside down onto the chopping board.

  6. Cut the bean jelly into cubes

  7. Heat oil in the pan, add Sichuan chilli bean sauce, stir until fragrant, then add bean jelly, stir fry, add soy sauce, Sichuan pepper and chilli sauce, cover the lid and simmer for 10 mins, stir occasionally. Add some water if pan gets dry. Then add onion weed, mixed it through, cook for a min, plate, drizzle with sesame oil. Serve hot.

Tip: Bean jelly is a much loved street food in Sichuan, and can be served cold. Just cut it up into thin noodles, add the same sauce and finely chopped spring onions, yum!

The hot version, we also love it when adding a tbsp of peanut butter to the sauce.


Spicy and healthy onion weed and spinach soup


  •   2 tbsp butter
  •   3 tbsp flour
  •   4 cups of onion weed, finely chopped
  •   500g of perpetual spinach, chopped up
  •   2 small stalks of celery, sliced
  •   Root vegetables: 1 cup carrot or Swedes or pumpkin
  •   500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  •   500ml homemade soy milk with the soy pulps in it, or milk with and 1 cup lentils.



  •   Curry powder
  •   Lemongrass
  •   2 tbsp jalapeños, finely chopped
  •   Sichuan pepper sauce
  •   Sichuan chilli sauce



  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add lemongrass, cook until fragrant;
  2. Add onion weed, cook until wilted;
  3. Add the flour, stir fry until golden.
  4. Add the stock, stir until mixed through,
  5. Then add celery, carrot or Swedes or pumpkin, stir and put on the lid. Sweat for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  6. Add the spinach and soy milk (or milk and lentils), cook for a few minutes until spinach wilted.
  7. Blend into a smooth soup. Then add 2 tbsp curry powder, jalapeños, salt and pepper to taste. Add Sichuan pepper and chilli sauce if desire.
  8. Ladle into a soup bowel, drizzle with olive oil. Serve with onion weed prawns or toasty onion weed bread.

Tip: if you replace the curry powder and jalapenos with 2 tbsp of Thai curry paste and add less stock/milk, then it can be a spinach Thai curry, served with rice.


Onion Weed and Spinach Pancake


  •   1 large egg
  •   1 cup of self-rising flour
  •   1 cup of milk
  •   1 cup onion weed
  •   1 cup spinach



  •   Cheese
  •   Salt and pepper



  1. Chop up onion weed and spinach, add to a food processor, crack the egg into it, add milk, blitz it up until smooth.

  2. Add the flour, salt and pepper if using, then blend again until you have a lovely, smooth batter.

  3. Fold in cheese if using.

  4. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and after a minute or so, add ½ tablespoon of oil.

  5. Carefully tilt the pan to spread the oil out evenly.

  6. A tablespoon batter is enough for a small pancake, add a few tablespoons to the pan, leaving enough space between each one so that they have room to spread out slightly.

  7. Cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes, or until little bubbles appear on the surface and the bases are lightly crusted, then carefully flip them over. Once both sides are done, transfer to the plate

  8. Serve the pancakes straight away, eat it as it is or with your favourite toppings.

Tip: This dish is a fantastic way off adding veges to the diet and so delicious. You can make the batter a bit thinner by adding more milk, then make it into large tortilla size, perfect for wraps. 

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