Photo shows the Tibetan styled pea jelly "pengbi" of southwest Tibet's Shigatse prefecture. [Photo/ China Tibet Online]
Either on the streets of downtown Shigatse or at the entrance of Tashilhunpo Monastery, there are always Tibetan ladies carrying large aluminum pots, with a group of people gathering around her. They are the peddlers moving about selling a kind of food called "pengbi".
"Pengbi" is a kind of pea jelly of Tibetan flavor. Since this Tibetan name has the same pronunciation with the words "friend" and "must" in Chinese, Tibetans would like to say that "pengbi" is a must-eat food when good friends come, in order to make it remembered.
The pea juice used to make "pengbi" is extracted from the juice to make bean starch vermicelli. When making bean starch vermicelli, peas will be ground into powders, and then water will be added to make it juicy. After sedimentation, the supernatant can be used to feed stocks, and the subsided amylum on the bottom is the material of bean starch vermicelli, while the thick juice in the middle is for making "pengbi".
The pea juice then needs to be boiled until it turns to paste, when spices such as salt, Tibetan scallion, curry powder and a little bit boiled oil and minced meat can be mixed together to form pea jelly "pengbi" after cooling.
With the fresh green color of pea, the mobile vending "pengbi" jelly with hot chili sauce is loved by Shigatse people, since it can satisfy both their hunger and appetite. It is so welcomed that a large pot of "pengbi" can be sold out in a blink of an eye, and it needs not only waiting in advance but also some fortune to buy some newly cooked delicious "pengbi".
With the creativity of Tibetans, the pea jelly "pengbi" gets unique look and taste and stands out from the pea juice, which has become a part of daily life in Shigatse.
Photo shows the stall selling "pengbi", around which there is always a crowd. [Photo/ China Tibet Online]