Ingredient Highlight: Chinese Cabbage
Did you know that there are over 30 kinds of Chinese Cabbage? Obviously it is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Just thought I’d share some information about this that you might not be familiar with. It is terrific in soups, salads, and stir frys (and more!) Give it a try!
Chinese cabbage - As many as 33 varieties of Chinese cabbage have been identified in Asia, and the most common varieties in the West are celery cabbage or pe-tsai, pak-choi or “bok choy”, and “choy sum”.
- Celery cabbage or “pe-tsai” is native to China , where it has been consumed for thousands of years. Also known as Chinese celery cabbage or Napa Cabbage, it is eaten on a daily basis in northern China . Celery cabbage resembles a Romaine lettuce. The leaves are crisp and delicate with a faint cabbage taste. Use the crinkly inner leaves for salads and the outer leaves for stir-fry. Also called Chinese cabbage.
- Pak-choi or bok choy also known as “Chinese white cabbage”, Chinese chard, or Chinese mustard, it is a leafy vegetable similar to Swiss chard and celery. The leaves are dark green and its whitish ribs are crisp and thus frequently is used to give stir-fry dishes a crunchy texture. There are many varieties of pak-choi, some of which are short-ribbed while others have long ribs. A popular variety is baby pak choy or ” siu pak choi “, a smaller version of pak choi. Pak-choi is available year-round in most supermarkets. Select bunches with firm, white stalks topped with crisp, green leaves and refrigerate in an airtight container for no more than three to four days.
Another variety is called tsai shim,” choy sum ” , ” bok choy sum ” or ” Chinese flowering cabbage “. The light green leaves, pale green stems and clusters of tiny yellow flowers on the tips of the inner shoots are edible.