Oriental Greens

Cabbages and greens are grown allover Vietnam and Cambodia.

Pak choi/bok choy
This perennial, green , leafy cabbage is
popular throughout South-east Asia .The ribbed , white stems are ju icy and crun c hy; the dark-green leaves are succulent and tasty. The tend er stems of small cabbages are often eaen raw with a dipping sa uce, or cut into strips and added to the Vietnamese table salad. The leaves, which are mostly composed of water, require little cooking and lose a lot of olume in the process. It is a good idea to cook the leaves and stems separately, as the stems take slightly longer. Generally, they are stir fried quickly to reta in their texture and flavour. These fresh cabbages are available in Asian stores and supermarkets. With its yellow  f lowers, long, slender stalks , and crisp leaves, the flowe ring cabbage (cai xanh) is much prized by Vietnamese cooks. It is picked to be eaten when in flower, so it is beautiful to behold as well as to taste . One of many Chinese cabbages, it is mild and tender,
mainly reserved for stir-fried dishes of Chinese origin. Sold tied in neat bundles, like pinach, flowering cabbages are available in most Asian markets. Choose crisp leaves and keep stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

image Above: The stalks, leaves, and flowers of the flowering cabbage are all edible.

 Mustard greens
Also known as Chinese cabbage, mustard greens (cai tau) look a bit like a head of lettuce such as cos or romaine, except that the leaves wrapping the heart are thick stalks.  The
leaves are sharp and robust in flavour but, once blanched, they mellow in taste and lose some of their bitterness. Traditionally regarded as peasant fare, mustard greens are added to stir-fries and vegetable dishes in rural areas, oth erwise they are mainly used to wrap
food that is to be steamed. Fresh mustard greens are available loose, or in plastic bags, in Asian markets and will keep for a few days in the salad compartment of a refrigerator

 Preserved cabbage
In Vietnam , the tender hearts of  mustard greens (ea; man) are preserved in brine. Quite salty to taste,  preserved cabbage is used sparingly and is usually rese rved as a garn ish for soups and nood le dishes of  Chinese origin.

Chinese leaves
There are almost as many names for this member of the brassica family as  there are ways of cooking it. In the  West, it is generally called Chinese leaves, but it is also known as Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage (mainly in the USA) or celery ca bbage. It is a cool season vegetable, most abundant from November through to April , but avai lable all year round . There are three common varieties wh ich all look similar,but differ in length , width and tightness of leaf. Chinese leaves have a delicate sweet aroma with a mild cabbage flavour that disappears completely when the vegetable is cooked. The white stalk has a crunchy texture, and it remains succulent even after long cooking. It is a very versatile vegetable and it can be used in stir-fries, stews, soups or raw in salads. It will absorb the flavours of any other ingred ients with which it is cooked be they fish or shellfish , poultry, meat  or vegetables - and yet retain its own characteristic taste and texture. Restaurant chefs blanch the vegetable in boiling stock, which enhances the flavour, before frying. Chinese leaves can be stored for a long tim e without losing their resilience. Keep in the salad compartm ent of the refrigerator and they will stay fresh for up to 10-12 days. Don't worry if th ere are tiny black specks on the leaves as this is quite normal and will not affect
the flavour.

Water spinach
Also called swamp cabbage or morning glory, this attractive leafy green vegetable (rau muong) is traditionally grown in swamps or ponds, near rivers and cana ls, although it does grow on dry land too. In Vietnam it is so popular it could be considered the national
vegetable. Unrelated to regular spinach,it does have a spin ach-like taste with crunchy stems and tender, light-green, arrow-shaped leaves. Sold in big bunches, water spinach
is often added to stir-fri es and soups, or it is simply st ir-fried by itself with garlic. In Vietnam, the hollow stem is often eaten raw, trimmed or curled and added to salads. When cooked , the stem tips stay firm, but the leaves rapidly become limp. Quite difficult to find outside Southeast Asia, water spinac h is available in some Asian markets and superma rkets .It is highly perishable and must be used promptly. High in flavour, water spi nach
provides a good measure of vitamins and minerals. Several variations are cultivated in Vietnam and Cambodia. Look for fresh bundles, which may be sold under the name kang kong in Asian and Chi nese markets.

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1 Respones to "Oriental Greens"

shadi said...

i try onetime the chinese tea it is nice

February 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM

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