The cabbage variety from Asia with a delicate crunch
Pak choi can be boiled, stir-fried, roasted in the oven or eaten raw. Its mild aroma with a hint of mustard makes it a delectable addition to Asian dishes, but also our local cuisine. Read on to learn all about this tasty cabbage variety.
Just a few decades ago, pak choi was considered an exotic vegetable found only in Asian restaurants and takeaways. But this flavourful member of the cabbage family has long since made its way into European cuisine. With its green, short-stemmed leaves that grow in a cluster, pak choi is reminiscent of our native spinach or chard. It has a distinctive taste with hints of mustard, which is why it is sometimes known as Chinese mustard. Pak choi leaves taste slightly bitter, while the stem is much milder.
For centuries, pak choi has been a staple of Asian cuisine used in salads as well as in rice and wok dishes. It originally comes from China and is closely related to Chinese cabbage. Pak choi thrives in the humid and warm climate zones of Asia. However, this cabbage variety is now also grown in many places in Europe, mostly in greenhouses.
Pak choi is easy to digest and high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Rich in phytonutrients, it also helps to protect the body's cells. Regular consumption can slow down the ageing process. Pak choi comes in several varieties – so-called baby pak choi, which is smaller and milder than the standard variety, is especially popular.
|Calories||12 kcal per 100 g|
|Nutrients||1 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fat, 1 g protein per 100 g|
|Season||May to September|
|Storage||wrap in a damp cloth or plastic bag and store in the refrigerator|
|Shelf life||one to two days|
Boiled, blanched, stir-fried or eaten raw – there are many possibilities when it comes to preparing pak choi. Before you start, be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly. Then separate the leaves from the stems by tearing them off or slicing them off with a knife. Take care to remove the base of the stalk before you continue processing the vegetable. Next, cut the pak choi into bite-sized pieces. Basically, all parts of the vegetable can be used. Slicing the thick stems into smaller pieces will speed up the cooking process.
Pak choi can be prepared quickly and easily in a frying pan: start by heating a little oil in the pan. After about three minutes, add the pak choi leaves and season with salt, pepper and a dash of soy sauce. Alternatively, pak choi makes a great choice for the grill. If you want to prepare pak choi on the grill, there is no need to cut it into pieces. Simply place the whole vegetable on the grill and cook it on all sides.
Raw food lovers should know that pak choi is completely safe to eat raw; this exotic vegetable is the perfect ingredient for smoothies or salads. Eating it fresh instead of cooking it in a pan or wok means most of the valuable nutrients will be preserved. Adding veggies such as tomatoes and olives or Asian ingredients like bean sprouts and sesame, you can quickly toss up a delicious pak choi salad. In smoothies, pak choi harmonizes particularly well with bananas, fresh spinach leaves and orange juice.
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