Emerald Greens

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The foods from our youth always stay with us. I remember these beautiful greens that were available in abundance when I was a child. Morning glory and Kai Lan – these emerald greens that make up a bulk of my diet till date. Each of the Chinese vegetables have its own unique character. They become more pronounced when they are cooked, releasing their distinct flavour. It matters how each one is prepared to complement the dish.

Here are some delicious Chinese vegetables accompaniments that also make for a healthy detox:

  • Spinach and goji berry – perfect in a soup or a salad. During the winter, we prepare a special soup of shrimp in a hot broth topped with spinach and ruby red goji berry. Not just beautiful to the eye, also healthy and delicious.
  • Kai Lan (emerald green in colour) – also known as Chinese Broccoli has a hint of bitterness. This is usually cooked in a ginger or oyster sauce.
  • Morning Glory (fern green in colour) – but when cooked redeems to a brighter green. This is one of my favourites. It is a kind of river spinach that grows in abundance in South East Asia. Maintains its potency, and is usually cooked in a garlic sauce as ginger does not make a good complement.
  • Pak Choi – you’re probably already familiar with this leafy and bulbous stem, also known as Chinese cabbage. It has been gaining much popularity in modern asian and fusion cuisines.
  • Choi Sum – a member of the mustard family. It’s a stalkier and heartier green. Makes a wonderful accompaniment to any meat dish. It goes very well with a garlic sauce.

We also have a detox mixed vegetable and a green beans dish.  This is cooked in a garlic or chilli bean sauce. Singed on the outside and half cooked in the middle to keep the crunchiness. In a typical Chinese meal, it is essential to have at least one of the vegetable side dishes. Keeping the nutrients of the vegetables, they are never overcooked. In some cases they are flash fried to ensure that the juices are locked in, and the colour is maintained without oil soaking through.

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