When it comes to nourishing wintertime foods, few veggies can compare to Asian greens. Many of these greens are seasonal during the wintertime, and they’re perfect for adding to warm soups, vegetable stir-frys and roasted potatoes. This makes them ideal for pairing with the foods you need to keep you warm and healthy all winter long.
If you aren’t familiar with these healthful, nutritious wintertime greens, now’s the time to brush up. Check your local supermarket for these four Asian greens, and keep reading to discover their flavor profiles and cooking instructions.
Daikon greens have an interesting flavor, with their leaves boasting a mild to slightly spicy taste. Their radishes, though, have a more pronounced flavor, ranging from sweet on the top to quite pungent on the bottom.
Daikon greens can be used as garnish, but don’t stop there. You can also add the leaves to salads, saute them or add them into homemade kimchi. As for the radish, use these in stews. They’re plenty hardy and will also give your stews extra flavor.
Mustard greens are extremely flavorful—this ain’t iceberg lettuce. They have a distinctive taste that’s reminiscent of mustard, obviously, but also of wasabi—especially in the case of red-tinted mustard leaves.
You will likely be buying mustard greens specifically for this flavor, so it’s important not to overcook them. Lightly saute over light-to-medium heat, or steam them for a couple of minutes max. You can also cut them up or use baby mustard greens to spice up your salads.
Bok choy is arguably the most popular and beloved Asian green, and is commonly used in soups and salads. Its leaves are tender, while its stalk is crispy and light. This makes it ideal for pairing with all manner of foods and dishes.
You can easily eat bok choy raw, though it’s also popular to steam or saute it.
Chinese broccoli is one of the best items on our list for eating year-round—the other three greens are specifically seasonal during winter. Chinese broccoli is a year-round contender, but that doesn’t make it any less special.
Like other forms of broccoli, these greens are super nutritious and also versatile. Chinese broccoli is slightly more bitter than the other broccoli types, but that’s why it holds its flavor so well in soups and stews. You can also blanch it, steam it or stir fry it.
Though it sounds similar to bok choy in name, this green may be a little more difficult to find. You can generally find AA choy at Chinese or Taiwanese grocery stores, but when you do come upon it, you’ll have discovered a very special treasure.
The leaves of AA choy are similar to romaine lettuce, but its stalks are more reminiscent of cucumber. You can use the leaves in many of the same ways as other greens (sauteeing, steaming, etc.) but AA choy steams are particularly perfect for pickling. Use the leaves in your winter stews and salads, and then pickle the stems for a special treat a few weeks later.