Asian Vegetable Herb Guide


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Chinese Chard

 

Description:

 

A pale green, sweet and delicate member of the cabbage family, this is one of the most popular Chinese vegetables, especially in its young form (baby bok choi). It needs careful washing, as there is often sand between the bases of the leaves. It can be blanched, stir fried, eaten on its own or added to soups.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Queensland

VIC - Victoria

WA - Western Australia

NSW - New South Wales

SA - South Australia

 

 


Shanghai Chinese Chard

 

Description:

  • Does not form a true head, but when harvested at its base forms a compact cluster of leaves
  • Sometimes described as a loose leaf Chinese cabbage
  • Dark green, leafy vegetable with white ribs in the leaves
  • Fleshy stalks vary from white to pale green.

Select fresh looking bunches with clean, glossy leaves and healthy stems.

 

Remove tough stalk end and wash leaves and stalks, slice and braise, steam or stir-fry. Use in dishes where you would use cabbage or spinach. The stalks can also be used like asparagus.

 

Bok choy is a cool weather vegetable which matures quickly with sufficient moisture. They require rich, cool, moist soil conditions.

 

The Chinese mustard cabbage or bok choy is one of the most ancient vegetables. Botanists cannot determine where it originated because it has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is believed that the Celts brought it to the British Isles, but it was grown in the Far East long before then.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Queensland

VIC - Victoria

WA - Western Australia

NSW - New South Wales

SA - South Australia

 

 


Coriander

 

Botanical Name:

 

Coriander sativum (Apiaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Bright green leaf is finely scalloped and broad
  • Pungent, distinct scent and flavour
  • Round branching stem which is pale green and finely grooved.

Choose coriander with fresh, green leaves with healthy stems and a pungent aroma.

 

Add fresh leaves to curries and Thai dishes, stews, salads, sauces and use as a garnish.

 

Coriander grows best in a dry atmosphere, and a good dry summer is required if a reasonable crop is to be obtained. Coriander is an annual crop which grows to 60cm in height.

 

Cultivated as a medicinal and culinary herb for at least 3000 years, coriander is mentioned in Sanskrit texts, on Egyptian papyri, in “Tales of the Arabian Nights” and in the Bible. Coriander was bought to Northern Europe by the Romans, who, combining it with cumin and vinegar, rubbed it into meat as a preservative. The Chinese once believed it conferred immortality, and in the Middle Ages it was put into love potions as an aphrodisiac. In Indian cooking, the seed is roasted before being ground for use.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Chinese: Uen sai

English: coriander or cilantro

Thai: pak chee

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Atherton, Brisbane Outer Suburbs, Bundaberg

NSW - North Coast

VIC - Melbourne, Werribee

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, South East

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Katherine.

  

 

Nutritional Value:

 

A good source of vitamin C.

  

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity. Keep covered and away from refrigeration fans.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

 

 


Curry Leaf

 

Botanical Name:

 

Murraya koenigii

 

General Description/History:

 

Dark green tapered leaves growing along a central stem, they have an unmistakable fragrance and are used mainly in South Indian and Sri Lankan dishes. They are usually fried in oil with other spices before adding the other ingredients to the dish.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Bahasa: daun kari

English: Indian curry leaves

Hindi: meetha neem

Sri Lanka: karapincha

 

 


Fish Plant

 

Botanical Name:

 

Hottuynia cordata

 

General Description/History:

 

This plant has a heart shaped leaf with a fishy smell and a slightly sour flavour. Eaten raw as part of a table salad, it is said to ease stomach cramps and to be especially beneficial for women.

 

Alternative Names:

 

English: fish plant, fishwort, heart leaf, chameleon plant

Chinese: ji cai

Thai: phak kao thong

 

 


Galangal

 

Botanical Name:

 

Alpinia galangal

 

General Description/History:

 

Galangal is an aromatic rhizome of the ginger family. It should be bought when pink and fresh. Used widely in South East Asia, it is an essential ingredient in Thai curry pastes and Tom Yam soups. It is used with fish in North Vietnam. To store, wrap in paper towel and keep in a plastic bag. Do not refrigerate as this causes it to blacken and become tough and hard to cut.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Bahasa: lengkuas

Chinese: hang dou kou

English: Siamese ginger or galingale

Thai: kha

 

 


Garland Chrysanthemum

 

Botanical Name:

 

Chrysanthemum coronarium

 

General Description/History:

 

The young leaves may be eaten raw but are more usually stir-fried as a vegetable or used as the leafy ingredient in simple soups. It is frequently an ingredient in Japanese sukyaki and clear soups. Add them to cooked dishes at the last minute, as they become bitter if overcooked. The flowers of these species are dried and infused as an herbal tea.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Chinese: tong ho

English: chrysanthemum greens

Japanese: shungiku

 

 


Garlic Chive

 

Description:

 

Characterised by their flat, garlic-flavoured leaves, these chives are used as a garnish in Vietnamese rice paper rolls, as an addition to soups and to Thai noodle dishes. They are also an essential element in Chinese chive pancakes and omelettes.

 

English: Chinese leek, Chinese chives

Chinese: gau choi

Thai: kuichai

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Atherton, Brisbane Outer Suburbs, Bundaberg

NSW - North Coast

VIC - Melbourne, Werribee

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Katherine.

 

 


Flowering Garlic Chive

 

Description:

 

These are the round, flower bearing stems of the garlic chive plant. They are usually added to stir-fries.

 

English: flowering Chinese leek or flowering Chinese chives,

Chinese: gau choi fah

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Atherton, Brisbane Outer Suburbs, Bundaberg

NSW - North Coast

VIC - Melbourne, Werribee

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Katherine.

 

 


Ginger

 

Botanical Name:

 

Zingiber officinale (Zingiberaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • A tropical grass plant related to Bamboo
  • Root crop
  • Pale yellow flesh
  • Pungent spicy aroma
  • Smooth brown/golden skin.

Select plump, heavy, smooth roots free from soft spots and wrinkles.

 

Use fresh grated ginger in stir-fry, salads and dips. A good accompaniment to pork, prawns, fish and chicken. Use finely chopped or crushed in marinades. Ginger also accompanies sweet dishes such as fruit fritters, ice cream, cakes and biscuits.

 

Ginger flowers are generally sterile and rarely set seed. Propagation is from portions of the rhizome, or root. These are known as ‘seed pieces’ and weigh 50-80g and are the size of a golf ball. Ginger requires highly nutritious soil and frequent irrigation. Ginger is planted in September to allow young plants to become established before the onset of hot burning weather in October, November and December. Planting is a mechanised operation, similar to potato planting. By February, the grassy vegetative tops of the ginger plant have reached a height of 1m while under the ground the rhizome (the root like stem) has developed into a large clump of odd-shaped hands.

 

Ginger originated in the southern provinces of China and in India where it has been used in medicines and food preparation for over 5000 years. Not long before World War 1, some pieces of raw ginger found their way to Buderim then a small farming area 100km north of Brisbane, where the comparatively high rainfall and humidity combined to produce conditions ideal for growing ginger.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Bahasa: halia

Chinese: geung

English: ginger

Thai: khing

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Buderim, Sunshine Coast, Gympie

NSW - Coastal areas

  

 

Nutritional Value:

 

A good source of dietary fibre and vitamin B1.

  

 

Storage/Handling:

 

15°C and 85 - 95% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place.

 

 

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