Last year we introduced Allan Fong to you all as a market gardener with a difference.
Allan is trying to make people think more about where their produce comes from and we really appreciate his work. Going from just 12 hectares to 300 in Pukekohe, his gardens date back to the 1940’s when they were his grandfather’s. Allan grows lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, onions, cauliflower and Asian vegetables which are what we feature this month as our Asian Market month at Farro Fresh.
Common Asian cabbages are available now everywhere and are easy growers for home gardeners too but often growers are a little unsure what to do with them.
Bok Choy or sometimes spelt buk choy is one of the most commonly available with sweet leaves and more tender body. Stir fry, steam or even eat raw in salads.
Pak choy can also be used in salads if you pick off the smaller leaves but the larger whiter stems are ideal for stir frying to give texture.
Wong bok looks more like a traditional cabbage –heavy and dense leaves but in a more elongated form. Used for making kimchi and other cabbage pickles the leaves are bright and fresh tasting. Shred them to add to a Asian coleslaw, add them to soups and stocks like miso and stir fry.
Choy sum often will have yellow flowers attached and is more stalky. Stems can be cut very small to be stir fried or diagonally sliced and stir fried with larger pieces. A stronger cabbage taste and darker leaf, choy sum has good nutrient qualities.
Gai Larn is firmer again often being more bitter as well. The stems can become quite fibrous and woody so may need trimming. Perfect when matched with more intense flavours such as beef and black bean they are perhaps the least commonly purchased of the more common varieties but is so flavorsome.