Braised Asian Greens
You have probably seen these unusual greens in the produce section of your local grocery store: Chinese broccoli, bok choy, tatsoi, etc. Perhaps you have been curious to give them a try, but have no idea how to cook them. Asian greens are easy to cook, taste delicious and are great for your health. So the next time you see a head of bok choy, add it to your grocery basket.
Each type of Asian green has its own taste and texture. Some are crunchy, some spicy and some have a strong mustard-y flavor like their Western counterparts. As with most greens, they can be steamed, stir-fried, stewed, braised, chopped and cooked in soups.
When I cook any type of greens, I prefer to braise them. Braising refers to a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot. With collards or mustard greens, I use bacon as my fat and apple juice as the braising liquid. For Asian greens, I used a plant based fat (canola) oil. The bacon fat is too heavy for Asian greens and would overwhelm their taste.
In this recipe, the braising liquid of choice is still apple juice. Some of the greens (especially in the mustard family) can be bitter and the sweetness of the apple juice helps to tame it. Experiment with another type of braising liquid, like beef or chicken stock, or a sweet white wine. Braised Asian greens go particularly well with a lightly seared white fish and some rice.
Braised Asian Greens
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (not crushed)
- 1 large bunch of Chinese broccoli, baby bok choy or other greens of your choice
- 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- ¼ cup of apple juice
- A dash of crushed red pepper
Wash the greens and dry them well. Separate the leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into 2-inch pieces.
Warm the oil in a small pan and add the garlic. Brown lightly, being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from the pan.
Place ¼ cup of apple juice, the garlic-oil mixture and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce in a saucepan and mix to combine. Cover with lid and bring to the boil.
Add the greens and cover with the lid. Braise for approximately 3 minutes, until they are wilted.
Turn up the heat and cook until the sauce thickens slightly.
Toss in the browned garlic and red pepper. Transfer the greens onto a serving plate and drizzle with the other tablespoon of oyster sauce.