VEG­ETABLE OF THE MONTH

NZ Grower - - What’s New -

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

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