We’re just a tiny bit obsessed with greens over here at Luvo (evidence can be found here and here. They’re tasty, very good for you, and you have so many options to choose from. That being said, we have yet to delve into the wonderful world of Asian greens!
Here’s a rundown of greens commonly used in Asian cooking:
Did anyone else think this cabbage originated in California wine country? No? Me neither… Also known as Chinese cabbage, napa cabbage is a staple ingredient in East Asian cooking. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked and is most often used in kimchi, stir-fries, soups and slaws. It delivers lots of vitamin C, too!
Bok choy (meaning “white vegetable” in Cantonese) is a type of Chinese cabbage most often seen in stir-fries. You can eat the thick, white stems of the plant and the leafy tops. The nooks and crannies between the leaves make excellent traps for tasty sauces and seasonings. It’s also packed with vitamins A and C.
Recipe to try: Stir-fried Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic
Yau choy (also referred to as choy sum) is similar to bok choy but it has thinner stems and yellow flowers. The flowers are not always included in the plant you find in the grocery store but they are edible. Choy sum can be cooked in a similar fashion to bok choy.
Recipe to try: Penne with Yau Choy
Gai lan is a long and skinny version of broccoli that also has big green, leaves and little yellow flowers (in fact, it’s also called Chinese broccoli). I like to think of regular broccoli florets as little flavor mops and gai lan offers a similar experience. You can steam it and sauce it up, or use it in stir-fries.
Recipe to try: Gai Lan with Oyster Sauce
Mizuna is essentially Japanese mustard greens. Its small, jagged leaves deliver a peppery flavor similar to arugula, and can be eaten raw in salads or steamed, boiled or stir-fried in various recipes. Like many other greens, mizuna is exceptionally high in vitamins A and C.
Recipe to try: Mizuna and Cucumber Salad
Snow Pea Shoots
Sometimes called snow pea tips or just pea shoots, these greens are the leafy stalks growing close to the pods of the pea plant (say that 10 times fast). Consisting of hollow stems and green leaves, they also usually come with curly, thin tendrils attached, which must be removed before eating. Snow pea shoots have a distinctive flavor similar to snow peas.
Recipe to try: Five-spice Chicken & Pea Shoot Salad
The world of greens is expansive and this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the Asian greens available, but it’s a good place to start. What are your favorite kinds of Asian greens? Share in the comments or over on Twitter at @luvoinc.