VEGETABLE OF THE MONTH
Asian vegetables have been in New Zealand since the Chinese first settled here in the late 1800s. There are literally hundreds of varieties of Asian vegetables and there are increasingly more varieties available on a regular basis. Today we focus on Wong bok.
Choy is the Chinese word for any leafy vegetable. Asian greens have also been called cabbage – even though they don’t resemble Western cabbages. The names of Asian vegetables can be confusing as they are called different names in different areas of China. For example, Chinese white cabbage is called bok choy, buk choy, pak choy or baak choi. These vegetables team well with the usual Asian condiments – soy, ginger, black bean, hoisin and oyster sauce.
WONG BOK [ALSO KNOWN AS PEKING CABBAGE, WONG NGA PAK, OR WONG NGA BAAK]
Wong bok has an elongated shape with crisp, juicy stalks and pale green, crisp leaves not unlike cos lettuce which form a heavy, compact head. Peking cabbage can be used raw in salads, or cooked in various ways, but it is most commonly used in fast cooking methods such as stir frying.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR All Asian greens should be clean, fresh and crisp. Flowering varieties are best when in bud, rather than full bloom.
AVAILABILITY All year. STORE Refrigerate in plastic bags. HOW TO PREPARE Wash, remove leaves or slice. SUGGESTED COOKING METHODS
Braise, boil, steam, stew, stir fry, or use as a wrap.
NUTRITION Most Asian vegetables are a good source of vitamins C and K, and contain dietary fibre and potassium. Asian vegetables contain many phytonutrients including carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Glucosinolates are present in brassicas such as Chinese broccoli and bok choy.
WAYS TO USE WONG BOK
• Wong bok soup
• Stir fried Wong Bok with garlic and ginger
• Wong bok slaw