Our guide to Asian greens
Published : August 25, 2015
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Welcome to the world of Asian Greens, these exotic beauties have been used to boost health for centuries as well as being an essential ingredient in many sensational dishes packed with flavour.
Asian greens are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, fibre, B vitamins, calcium and iron. The iron and calcium in Asian greens is more readily absorbed than traditional leafy greens such as spinach and silver beet, best of all, they are light and low in kilojoules with almost no fat.
Totally yummy on their own, used in salads, steamed as a vegetable or delicious in a soup Asian greens have a great source of flavours, try swapping them for mustard, Swiss chard, or spinach when preparing a favourite recipe.
Bok choy (pictured below)
Top of the list for antioxidants and health benefits, this member of the Chinese cabbage family is not only tasty but it looks great too. Soft and silky with a mild flavour crunch Bok Choy is perfect lightly steamed with a dash of cracked pepper.
Chinese broccoli (pictured below)
Absolutely delicious, crunchy and nutty in flavour, this is perfect lightly steamed or drizzled in an oyster sauce.
Also known as Napa Cabbage, is a barrel shaped variety with is mild to the taste and crunch in texture. Choy Sum is a slightly bitter variety with tender leaves and thick stems.
Also known as crown daisies, remain a tangy variety of Asian greens. Great served in tempura or in a soup, Chrysanthemum leaves are flat and serrated in nature.
Coriander (pictured below)
Famous for its flavour, every part of the coriander is used from the stem to the leaves and seeds. Whether it’s used as a garnish, raw or cooked an array of flavours are on offer for all types of dishes.
Kan kong (pictured below)
Also known as swamp cabbage, long stem with wispy leaves, the hollow stalk has a lovely crunch with a mild flavour that easily absorbs the sauces and condiments you add, delicious.
A Japanese Asian green with means “water vegetable”. Containing stalks which are exceptionally juicy, these peppery leaves are common in Japanese cooking.
Another common type of Asian greens. A popular ingredient in Vietnamese cooking, the tender shoots include a delicious pea flavour which is sure to enhance any salad or soup.
Pandan leaves (pictured below)
A popular choice in South East Asian cokking the pandan leaves are used for adding flavour when cooking. They can be used fresh and firm or wilting. A distinct flavour being nutty and botanical these leaves are used in many meat, vegetarian and rice dishes.
Used for centuries as a food and medicine amongst many cultures, watercress is spicy and peppery on its own, used as a garnish, in soups or more traditionally used in sandwiches for high tea in the UK.
Asian greens don’t require cooking for long and should be cooked quickly, sealing in their sweetness by stir-frying or steaming.
Store Asian greens like you would any other green. Larger, more mature greens can remain in the refrigerator for up to five days, while smaller, tender greens should be used within three days of purchase.
Once the leaves begin to brown in the refrigerator, make sure to use them the same day of discard.
When buying Asian greens, make sure the leaves are not yellow in colour, wilted or damaged. Most Asian greens are available all year round.