Asian Vegetables?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mudbug, Jul 19, 2002.

  1. mudbug

    mudbug

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    [​IMG]

    Wondering if any of you out there cook with Asian Vegetables... ie: bitter melon, winter melon, yard long beans, any type of choy or other asian greens, daikon radish, taro, asian eggplants, snow pea shoots, watercress, etc.

    Evergreen Seeds has a wonderful listing of several varieties of these as well as pictures which may inspire some thoughts...

    Any favorite dishes you like to eat? Any favorite ingredients you like to work with? Have any growing in your garden or are they readily available in your area?

    Has anyone every eaten or cooked Crosnes?

    :lips:
     
  2. gsquared

    gsquared

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    Crosnes - had it once in a salad. Not particularly exciting - maybe in a soup?
     
  3. suzanne

    suzanne

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    A chef I worked for brought in some crosnes to play with. I agree with GSquared, not terribly exciting, kind of like jicama without the sweetness. More a texture than a taste, and of course the shock of how they look. For those not familiar with them, they look like short, fat, beige worms.

    As for Asian veg -- oh, yes! I'm fortunate to live near NYC's Chinatown, so I can get all sorts of veg in season. Sometimes I'll buy something with no idea what it is, and then look it up in my books at home to learn the name and what to do with it. I think we are so lucky now that we have access to such a range of "exotic" veg -- even a simple cole slaw, when made with some variety of choy, is so much more interesting.

    BTW: taro makes THE BEST shoestring fries! If you've got a Japanese mandoline, cut it using the medium blade; hold in water (to rinse off the excess starch and keep it from discoloring), then drain well and deep fry. Fabulous! And taro puree is a great change from potatoes or other starch as a side.
     
  4. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Hey Suzanne,

    This might help everyone get a visual :D

    Crosnes Salteados
    [​IMG]

    JAPANESE ARTICHOKE
    Crosne, also called Chinese artichoke, Japanese artichoke, knotroot and Chorogi. This is an Asian member of the mint family grown for its unusually shaped edible tubers. The were introduced to Europe in the 1880s (first cultivated in France near Crosne, hence the name) and enjoyed popularity until the 1920s. They have been 'rediscovered' lately and it's popularity has increased here in the U.S. The tubers look a string of misshapen mottled pearls (they are also described as 'petrified worms). They can be eaten raw, in salads, or stir fried, boiled, baked or in soups.



    Jodi
     
  5. kimmie

    kimmie

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    ARGH! Are these animal or vegetable? :confused:
     
  6. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    It's a tuber Kimmie! :lol: :D Doesn't look like it does it? Suzanne's description really was accurate. They do look like worms. :lol: Im trying to find a better picture for you.

    Jodi

    PS

    Can you see them better here?

    [​IMG]
     
  7. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Thanks Jodi. But I'll pass...
     
  8. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Crosnes is a root vegetable, a tuber. I'd post a pic of the raw veggie but from the posts here, it doesn't seem like we're in an adventurous mood. LOL!

    Perhaps I should have waited until later to inquire...

    Crosnes aka chinese artichokes ÊLatin name "Stachys Sieboldi, Miq. (syn. Stachys affinus, Bunge; Stachys Tuberiflora, Nandin. ex Rev.)"

    China: leaves eaten raw or cooked, boiled or salted
    Japan: tubers salted or preserved in plum vinegar.

    Uses
    Boiled or mashed as a hot vegetable or raw in salad. Most recipe books suggest they should be peeled before cooking, this is not necessary as their skins are so thin. Wash and gently scrub the artichokes and drop them into boiling, salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, peel if liked, although the skin is so thin it can be eaten, return the artichokes to the pan and reheat in butter or add bechamel or lemon sauce. Also, they may be served with lemon juice and a sprinkling of paprika pepper. Serve hot.

    There is a beautiful recipe incorporating it here: Roasted Pheasant with Foie Gras Brussels Sprouts and Root Vegetables with Black Truffle.

    Now what about all the other Asian ingredients out there?

    :)
     
  9. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Artichokes are among my top favorite foods; yet, from GSquared's description, they're close to tasteless. What's the charm?

    I have access to bitter melon but have never tasted it. I suppose the name turns me off. Can anyone tell if they have a flavor akin to another food? I'd like to try them but don't want to pitch one after shelling out good money for it - to say nothing of wasting food.
     
  10. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    BITTER MELON
    Momordica charantia

    Chinese: Foo Gwa alt
    English: Balsam Pear


    Like a light green, fat, pointed cucumber to look at, with a prominently warty skin. When cut open the bitter melon shows bright red seeds. These must be removed before use.

    The Bitter Melon is consigned to wholesale markets in 10kg cartons, and the quantity is now becoming significant.

    Growing conditions: Tropical and subtropical—Northern Territory and Queensland.


    Bitter melon grows in tropical areas, including parts of the Amazon, East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and throughout South America, where it is used as a food as well as a medicine. It's a slender, climbing annual vine with long stalked leaves producing yellow solitary male and female flowers borne in the leaf axils. The fruit is warty-looking gourd, usually oblong and resembling a small cucumber. The young fruit is emerald green turning to orange-yellow when ripe. At maturity the fruit splits into three irregular valves that curl backwards and release numerous brown or white seeds enclosed in scarlet arils. The generic name "Momordica" comes from Latin meaning "to bite", referring to the jagged edges of the seed which appears as if the leaves have been bitten. The plant lives up to its Bitter Melon name as all parts of the plant including the fruit tastes very bitter.

    In the Amazon, local people and indigenous tribes grow bitter melon in their gardens, adding the fruit and/or leaves to beans and soup for a bitter or sour flavor. Sometimes parboiling it first with a little salt will remove some of the bitter flavoring. Medicinally, the plant has a long history of uses by the indigenous people of the Amazon. The fruit juice and/or a leaf tea is employed for diabetes, colic, sores and wounds, infections, worms and parasites, as an emmenogogue, and for measles, hepatitis, and fevers.

    In the United States, bitter melon is grown for its immature fruits, which are used in Asian cooking. In other countries, the young leaves are harvested and used as a potherb. The fruit and leaves have a bitter flavor because they contain morodicine, an alkaloid. Alkaloid content can be reduced somewhat by parboiling or soaking fruit and leaves in saltwater. Immature fruit is least bitter. Ripe fruits are extremely bitter, and are reported to be toxic to humans and animals.


    [​IMG]

    Substitutes: winter melon (larger, needn't be salted before cooking to remove bitterness)

    I couldn't find any mention anywhere about what other food this tastes like. All I found was the substitution above.
     
  11. bouland

    bouland

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    ShawtyCat: winter melon is not an appropriate substitute for bitter melon — I doubt if there is one. I've been using bitter melon for years and enjoy them very much. Their bitterness is such that they overload the bitter taste buds on your tongue so everything that follows tastes sweeter. It important to get ones that are light green in color and without damaged flesh. The Chinese variety is most common here, but I can occassionally get Okanawan ones that are also quite nice.
     
  12. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Oh well....I guess even www.foodsubs.com gets it wrong sometimes. :cool: BTW: I love sour stuff but Im not sure about the bitter melon. Ill have to try some someday. :)

    Jodi
     
  13. bouland

    bouland

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    Prepared the right way it's fantastic...
     
  14. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Bouland,

    Care to share your recipe?? :)

    Jodi
     
  15. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Bouland,

    I agree. I have both winter melon and bitter melon growing in my garden right now...

    ;)
     
  16. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Bouland, you mentioned that the bitterness makes the food that follows taste sweeter. This sounds like the way artichokes work, intensifying the flavors of foods eaten after them. Same chemicals?

    I've seen recipes using it in cookbooks and online, but would be interested in knowing recipes anyone's tried and enjoyed with bitter melon. I can do a search to find recipes, but would like feedback about good combinations of veggies, protein and sauce that will show this up to its best advantage. TIA!
     
  17. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    I don't care if they are called Japanese artichokes, those crosnes look like larvae! But that wouldn't discourage me from trying them.

    I've done choys and yard long beans. I kept the yard long beans whole because of the folklore about cutting long foods like noodles, etc. It was fun to watch my friends eat them while they were long, holding the beans up over their heads like mutant, green spaghetti.
     
  18. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Long beans: at one restaurant where I worked, we blanched and shocked them, then at service reheated them in a lobster/Thai red curry sauce, and wound them around a pile of lobster meat on top of coconut rice. One of few "tall foods" that was actually fun to make (and tasted great, too!).