In Chinese cuisine, vegetables play an important role. Aside from the aesthetics of giving colour and vibrance to accompany any dish, Chinese greens can be cooked in many ways which is what makes eating them quite exciting. The methods of cooking vary, going back to the various regions in China in their ways of preserving vegetables or consuming them fresh on a daily basis. From blanching to stir frying to steaming, it’s all in the cooking!
Each green has its own unique flavour and texture. Once you become familiar with them, you begin to fine tune your palette to knowing which vegetable pairs better with a certain dish. For instance, Pak Choi (a chinese cabbage) which is a favourite amongst many can be used effectively in stir fries, soups or even in stock pots. This elegant leafy green is one to mix well in fusion cuisine which is why it is becoming so popular.
One of the simplest and easy to eat Chinese greens is the River spinach (morning glory) as we call it. I remember as a little girl seeing these growing in abundance by the river bank when I lived in Vietnam. Being highly nutritious and fortifying, this spinach is a wonderful addition to broths especially in the winter season. It can also be thrown into a salad. A true emerald green with plenty of vitality and makes its distinctive mark on Chinese cuisine .
There is also Kai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) and the Choi Sum (of the Mustard family) that complement the taste of pretty much any of the dishes on the menu.
Let us know what your favourite green is?