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Chinese Vegetables Illustrated


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While I'm on the subject of round cabbages, I should mention that we also get red or purple cabbage. Here they are called  红包菜/紅包菜 (Mand: hóng bāo cài; Cant: hung4 baau1 coi3) or 紫包菜 (M: zǐ bāo cài; Cant: zi2 baau1 coi3). The first means red cabbage while the second means purple cabbage. 

 

335350929_redcabbage.thumb.jpg.0fef9440e686a635104f2adb3cccf996.jpg

 

 

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4 hours ago, liuzhou said:

We also get the round head type cabbages - Brassica oleracea. In Chinese, these are referred to as 包菜 (M: bāo cài; 😄baau1 coi3) ,  with bao meaning wrap or bag. 

 

baocai.thumb.jpg.af09bc4143876405bf8479bab40fe248.jpg

 

One slight variation is the one known as 京包菜 (M: jīng bāo cà; 😄 qing1 baau1 coi3) , where jing is an abbreviation for Beijing, so Beijing cabbage.

2098369261_.thumb.jpg.b0ab81b3eed7c31ca7c302d5a94ceab4.jpg

 

No. I can't see much difference either.

 

 

These two types of cabbage were available at my Korean owned pan-Asian grocer before they went out of business for apparently not properly paying their taxes. The first ones seem more oblong to me while the second seem rounder. I bought whichever was less expensive that day and never noticed any difference in taste.

 

Thanks for this thread!

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Here is an answer to @ElsieD' s problem of Napa cabbage being too much for her needs (If she can find them). Many needs I would think.

 

Also available are 娃娃菜 (Mand: wá wá cài; Cant: waa1 waa1 coi3) which is 'baby cabbage', a small growing version of Napa. Particularly popular in Sichuan, but available widely.  Perhaps bizarrely, these are sold in supermarkets in packs of three, rather defeating the point. However, I am able to buy them separately in wet/farmer's markets.

 

wawacai.thumb.jpg.bdb819285540f0f819316e166d20d778.jpg

 

I didn't measure them, but they are about ⅓ of the size of Napa. I'm glad they are clean!

 

 

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On 10/17/2018 at 3:24 AM, heidih said:

It is interesting to see the names and the images are great. Practically speaking though I just buy what looks interesting. Asking other shoppers how they treat the greens usually get the "soup or stir-fry" response. I've just learned what I like. One of my fun experiences was walking the dog at a regional park and seeing a Korean woman, elegantly dressed, with a big knife and a basket crouching down cutting a "weed". I asked and she said "for soup" and that I would not like it. I picked some. It was edible chrysanthemum - I liked it

 

Today is the 9th day of the 9th month in the Chinese calendar, celebrated by the Double Ninth Festival, a day when people like to climb mountains, enjoy the chrysanthemum or pay respects to ancestors. So now seems a good idea to jump ahead of my plan and deal with @heidih's lucky find.

 

Garland chrysanthemumglebionis coronaria, formerly called chrysanthemum coronarium, is also sometimes known as chrysanthemum greens, chop suey greens, Japanese greens, crown daisy chrysanthemum, edible chrysanthemum, or cooking chrysanthemum. In Chinese, it is 茼蒿 (Mand: tóng hāo; Cant: tung4 hou1).  Whatever name you choose, they are the edible leaves of a variety of chrysanthemum (of course!)

 

1829201381_GarlandChrysanthemum.thumb.jpg.95609d0a1d952076e057e4285887be6e.jpg

 

It is a fairly common green vegetable here, mainly used in hot pots and should be added just before serving. Long cooking doesn’t do it any favours – the leaves turn bitter. It is also used in soups, stir fries and in Taiwanese oyster omelettes. It can also be eaten raw in salads.

 

I like it, too.

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Cabbage is a many splendored group. This one is marketed here as Taiwanese - more flat than the hard bowling balls. They command a higher price. I can't say I noticed a huge taste difference. The thing with cabbage is age and size. in my experience. With the "bowling balls" I will often pick one that is more green and not so tightly formed as a change from the stronger taste of the tightly packed mature guys epecially for a raw use.   http://www.evergreenseeds.com/catva.html

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The flatter ones are those I pictured first above. These:

 

baocai.jpg

 

I'm somewhat surprised they are being described as Taiwanese. Cabbage is generally considered to be a north China thing here, although widely available.

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The flat cabbages are labelled Taiwanese cabbage here as well. I like them better for stir-fry than the round green ones - leaves are thinner and crisper.

 

What are some Chinese preparations for red cabbage? I have one in the fridge right now, was planning on German-style red cabbage, but wouldn't mind doing something different with it.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Beebs said:

What are some Chinese preparations for red cabbage? I have one in the fridge right now, was planning on German-style red cabbage, but wouldn't mind doing something different with it.

 

Good question. It strikes me that I've never actually been served it by any Chinese friends and there are no recipes in any of my Chinese cookbooks or on the internet, that I can see. Yet every supermarket and wet market has it, so they must be doing something with it. I guess it is simply stir fried like the green and white varieties. I'll ask friends over the weekend how they use it.

 

I have used myself, but only in western style dishes.

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Brassica rapa var. parachinensis or Brassica chinensis var. parachinensis

 

Sometimes referred to as "Chinese flowering cabbage" (although all cabbages flower if left to their own devices) or Choy sum.

 

In Chinese it is,  菜心 (Mand: cài xīn; Cant: coi3 sam1) which means  'vegetable heart'.

 

caixin.thumb.jpg.656c1d0b182c91d318ea77e6830e555b.jpg

 

Usually simply stir fried with garlic. Sometimes then finished with oyster sauce. It is also used in hot pots.

 

There is another version with slightly larger leaves and few flowers. This is known as 油菜心 (Mand: yóu cài xīn; Cant: jau4 coi3 sam1). To my palate, it tastes exactly the same as the first.

 

youcaixin.thumb.jpg.ca2e6d43f0184ba4f05286fe03b4cf55.jpg

 

Finally, there is also a purple stemmed variety.

 

 

 

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I read that The Cleaver Quarterly have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a set of 52 cards depicting the Chinese vegetables. 52? OK, that's the number of cards in a standard deck of playing cards, but...

I have more than 52 on my list that I'm working through here and that is just the leaf vegetables! Wait until I get to the root and vegetable fruits, gourds etc.

 

I'm just jealous that I didn't think of Kickstarter! 😭

 

 

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On 10/16/2018 at 10:00 PM, liuzhou said:

There is a slightly different cultivar of Napa type cabbage available.

 

1415478712_.thumb.jpg.ff23fe657272a60ed491e88775c6a3a5.jpg

 

This is known as 青麻叶大白菜 / 青麻葉大白 (M: qīng má yè dà; C: ceng1 maa jip6 daai6 baak6 coi3). This translates as Green Sesame Leaf Large Cabbage. My local supermarket drops the part of the name, just going for 青麻白菜. It seems to me that the difference is purely visual. I can detect no difference in taste. That said, the supermarkets and markets all carry both.

 

I have been unable to find any English name for this version.

 

Could it be that the large leaf variety is simply more full-grown?

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4 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Could it be that the large leaf variety is simply more full-grown? 

 

I don't think so. The leaves are noticeably different.

 

The 'large' in the name refers to the cabbage not the leaves. The two cabbages are the same size.

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On 10/16/2018 at 2:41 PM, ElsieD said:

I happen to be making an Indonesian dish later this week that calls for Napa Cabbage.  I need 1 sliced cup.  I haven't bought one yet because the size they come in is way more than I need.  Is Bok Choy or Shanghai a reasonable substitute?

 

 

From my experience, when I was regularly buying the huge Napa Cabbages at S-Mart, before it went out of business, they last a really long time under refrigeration. Like a month. So you can make many dishes out of this veg I was paying like 49 cents a pound for a four pound specimen. You just need to peel the leaves off from the root end and let the cabbage remain relatively intact and keep them in their produce bag. Sometimes mine have grown roots, but I slice those off and have really had good success using up a four pound cabbage over a whole month. You might lose some outer leaves to dehydration if you're not using it up fast enough, but I can testify, that this veg is excellent for long storage.

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Brassica rapa var. parachinensis or Brassica chinensis var. parachinensis

 

Sometimes referred to as "Chinese flowering cabbage " (although all cabbages flower if left to their own devices) or Choy sum.

 

In Chinese it is,  菜心 (Mand: cài xīn; Cant: coi3 sam1) which means  'vegetable heart'.

 

caixin.thumb.jpg.656c1d0b182c91d318ea77e6830e555b.jpg

 

To me, this looks like a larger leaf version of the first one you posted, and is sold here in the Asian markets as Yu Choy or Yu Choy Sum.  One of my favorites - steamed or stir-fried, but also sometimes in soup. 

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11 minutes ago, mgaretz said:

To me, this looks like a larger leaf version of the first one you posted, and is sold here in the Asian markets as Yu Choy or Yu Choy Sum.

 

I thought the same at first, but the same supermarket also sells 油菜 (Mand: yóu cài; Cant: jau4 coi3) which is Yu Choy or Yu Choy Sum - Rapeseed Veg.. I can't think they would have two if they are the same thing.

 

I'll get to the 油菜 (Mand: yóu cài; Cant: jau4 coi3) soon. Tomorrow, I'll try to get a picture of the two together,so we can compare.

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4 minutes ago, heidih said:

Perhaps we should all think about taking pics in our markets including labeling. Might be interesting and informative to compare

 

That would be great.

 

By the way here is a better picture showing the flatter version of the round cabbages you commented on earlier.

 

2121616139_flatcabbage.thumb.jpg.0acdb77ce6f128c0475c42bc7fa21c1e.jpg

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Here is a weird one.

 

Again, it looks similar to choy sum, but goes by the name of 菜花 (Mand: cài huā; Cant: coi3 faa1), literally meaning 'vegetable flowers'. Unfortunately, exactly the same name is used for cauliflower and two sexually transmitted diseases. Do not search for Google pictures of this vegetable; you will only get cauliflowers and STDs).

To continue the sexual connection this is the leaves and flowers of rape.  Nothing to do with sexual violence. Rape is the source of rapeseed oil aka Canola. The name is derived from the Latin 'rapus' meaning 'turnip', a closely related plant.

 

caihua.thumb.jpg.3cdc873c02ca0bfa7225ba8c0cdf0d19.jpg

 

caihua2.thumb.jpg.5a6f34239608d63dd6ad55767217e362.jpg

 

It also comes in a red stemmed variety. 红菜花/紅菜花 (Mand: hóng cài huā; Cant: hung4 coi3 faa1).

 

hongcasihua.thumb.jpg.9c481df9fb2906c6505f30d015e2e43a.jpg

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, mgaretz said:

Sometimes I see the younger, smaller version sold as Yu Choy Miu (or maybe it’s mui).  I always assumed the last word meant small or baby, as sometimes very small bok choy (with the white stems) appear as bok choy miu.

 

 

(Mand: miáo; Cant: miu4) means 'seedling; shoot; young plant'.

 

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Now for an easy one. I'm exhausted!

 

Spinacia oleracea

 

I never associated spinach with Chinese cuisine until I got there. Now I learn that China grows 85% of the world's supply.

 

One thing I like about China is that all the vegetables here are only available seasonally; out-of-season supplies flown halfway across the world are very unusual. And spinach has just started to reappear in the last week.

 

In Chinese, 菠菜 (Mand: bō cài; Cant: bo1 coi3).

 

spinach2.thumb.jpg.a8b1ac7ab9e2161b894f058b6b9de396.jpg

 

spinach1.thumb.jpg.12a4d4e6dc4a279058f26f34d1c1f815.jpg

 

 

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24 minutes ago, KennethT said:

wow that cai hua is cheap!  It's like $0.60 per pound!

 

Vegetables are relatively cheap, but when you compare you have to remember that incomes in China are a lot lower than the USA. It's not a simple exchange rate calculation. You have to look at price as a percentage of average income to really compare.

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      Finely chop the garlic and chile if using. Add to stock and simmer for about five minutes.

      Make sure all the clams are tightly closed, discarding any which are open - they are dead and should not be eaten.

      The clams will begin to pop open fairly quickly. Remove the open ones as quickly as possible and keep to one side while the others catch up. One or two clams may never open. These should also be discarded. When you have all the clams fished out of the boiling stock, roughly the tear the mustard leaves in two and drop them into the stock. Simmer for one minute. Put all the clams back into the stock and when it comes back to the boil, take off the heat and serve.
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