Although Asian greens are eaten by more than half the world’s population up to three times a day, they have only recently become familiar to Western countries. Our own time living in Laos opened our eyes to the countless varieties in this extremely versatile, highly nutritious, and easy to cook group of vegetables.
Selection and Storage: Asian greens should have no signs of wilting, and their bases should be dry and firm. Because of their high water content they generally don’t store well. Refrigerate washed-and-dried greens in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week.
Culinary Uses: Asian greens suit stir-frying, steaming, poaching, or adding to braises, curries and soups. The delicious leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked.
Varieties that we grow on our farm include:
- Bok Choy, also known as pak choy and Chinese white cabbage, has a rounded base, dark green leaves and long ivory-colored stems. Their crisp thick stems and pleasantly cabbage-flavored, slightly tangy leaves cook quickly.
- Tokyo Bekana is best described as a cross between Romain lettuce and Chinese Cabbage. It is sweet, a bit like lettuce with a mild cabbage flavor and crunchy stems.