Peppery green provides plenty of flavor, options for cookingPublished 11:41am Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Greens are a part of my everyday diet.
I love them raw, steamed, wilted, stir-fried, in soups and stews, just about every way you can imagine them.
I thought I’d tried them all, but recently a new one entered my repertoire: Gai Choi. Also known as Chinese mustard greens, gai choi is a peppery variety of the cabbage family. The leafy greens may be trimmed leaving only the rounded stalks. Sharpness and pungency can vary, but this vegetable always offers a dependable crunchy texture and a mustardy bite.
Both the stems and the leaves are edible and will cook to a pungent, peppery finish. If slow-cooked, it will become meltingly tender, like collards or mustard greens, but will keep its peppery bite. If you like broccoli rabe, arugula or Belgian endive, you will probably like gai choy. Younger gai choy will have slender, straight, dark green stems, and can be eaten raw as a salad green, or quickly stir-fried. It has less of a bite than a fully mature cabbage, more like a nibble.
According to studies published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Chinese cabbage demonstrated the highest antioxidant capacity of any vegetable. Chinese Cabbage has been found to contain Apigenin, which is thought to be a powerful antioxidant with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.
Where can you find this wonderful green? The market of course. Vendor Ka Yang offers a variety of Asian greens and many other produce items and flowers. Ka vends on Thursdays at the downtown Main Street Market.
Try this recipe as a side to just about any meat or fish recipe.
The Austin Area Farmers’ Market is open Thursdays, 3:30 to 6 downtown, Main Street, Mondays, 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Oak Park Mall and Saturdays, 9:30 to 11:30 am., Oak Park Mall. We accept all major credit cards and EBT. EBT users, don’t forget the BCBS double your bucks program, for the first $5 you spend, you will receive $5 in matching bucks.
GARLIC BRAISED GAI CHOY
1 large bunch mustard cabbage, or gai choy, cleaned, stemmed and diced/julienned
2-3 TBL. olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth, or water
1/2 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (optional)
What you do: Heat oil in wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir to release fragrance and gently brown, then remove garlic and keep aside. Add cleaned mustard greens stem pieces to oil, add broth, cover and let cook 10-20 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Stir to mix well, then add leafy parts of cabbage, cover and cook another 5-8 minutes, or until leafy parts are bright green. Remove cover and allow broth to reduce by half. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, if using. Remove to serving plate and garnish with browned garlic.