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We are constantly bombarded with this message: You should eat dark green leafy vegetables every day.
But these green plants remain a mystery for many of us. Having said that, they are becoming an increasingly common sight in grocery stores, and especially in ethnic markets, where they often have different names based on the cultural and linguistic heritage (Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese etc.). All this adds to the confusion and mystery.
Regardless of whether they belong to the family of crucifers (e.g. cabbage, bok choy) or legumes (e.g. snap peas) or even if they vaguely resemble spinach (such as Chinese water spinach), all dark green vegetables can be easily sautéed or steamed. I prefer to simply stir-fry them in a frying pan (or wok) for 5 minutes with a dash of garlic-scented oil. Depending on your taste, you can add soy sauce, broth, miso, a few drops of sesame oil and voila!
Be careful not to overcook the leaves and let the stalks become too soft because they are much better when still a little crunchy to the bite.
Try some of our recipes that are featuring Asian greens:
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on January 25, 2014.