Beyond Bok Choy: A Cook's Guide to Asian Vegetables

Overview


Beyond Bok Choy is the first book to help consumers identify, choose, and--most importantly--cook the enormous variety of increasingly available Asian Vegetables. Top chefs discovered these tasty leafy greens, squashes, peas and beans, mushrooms, and herbs several years ago, and many varieties are appearing in supermarkets, farmers' markets, and seed catalogs as well as in Asian flavors, there has been little information available to home cooks on how to add these vegetables to...
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Overview


Beyond Bok Choy is the first book to help consumers identify, choose, and--most importantly--cook the enormous variety of increasingly available Asian Vegetables. Top chefs discovered these tasty leafy greens, squashes, peas and beans, mushrooms, and herbs several years ago, and many varieties are appearing in supermarkets, farmers' markets, and seed catalogs as well as in Asian flavors, there has been little information available to home cooks on how to add these vegetables to their repertoire.

With this book, Rosa La San Ross, a New York-based cooking teacher and caterer who grew up in Hong Kong, guides readers through the many varieties of bok choy, mustard cabbages, melons, edible gourds, sprouts, and shoots. her 70-easy-to-prepare recipes--including both classic Chinese stir-fries and original fusion recipes--will send curious cooks to unexplored regions of their supermarkets and then to the kitchen. The book's guidebook-like format makes it east to carry on shopping expeditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Asian cuisines once considered exotic are now commonly enjoyed in the West. Many Asian vegetables and herbs, however, may still be difficult for American cooks to identify, much less to prepare at home. Though this is not a vegetarian cookbook, Lo San Ross (365 Ways to Cook Chinese), a New York cooking teacher born in Macao, does a wonderful service for Asian food lovers and vegetarians by detailing the appearance (with large color photos), taste, cultivation, storage and preparation of dozens of vegetables used in Asian cuisines, from Chinese to Thai to Indonesian. The book is divided into five sections: Leafy Greens (from delicate, cabbage-like bok choy to leafy Chinese broccoli); Gourds, Melons & Squashes; Roots, Rhizomes, Corms & Tubers (including ginger and sweet, starchy taro); Sprouts, Shoots & Beans; and Herbs. A concise run-down on each vegetable is followed by one or two recipes. Dishes range from such classic stir-frys as Long Beans Dry-Fried with Peanuts and Spicy Sauce (in which the beans are fried twice, the second time with very little oil) to "fusion" dishes like Shiso Risotto (shiso is a parsley-like herb with a "hint of licorice, mint, or cinnamondepending on your taste buds"). Though more recipes would have been welcome, this is an attractive and very usable introduction to a wealth of intriguing Asian vegetables. (June)
Library Journal
Ross, a New York City cooking teacher who grew up in Hong Kong and Macao, has compiled a highly useful guide to the often confusing world of Asian produce. Asian vegetables and herbs are increasingly available here, but even experienced Western cooks don't know the difference between one Chinese cabbage and another or what to do with red amaranth leaves. Ross describes each vegetable, tells how to store it and use it, offers brief gardening tips for those inclined to grow their own, and includes a recipe or two. Beautiful full-page color photographs make identification of these exotic marketplace items easy. Ken Homs's Asian Ingredients LJ 2/15/96 includes some vegetables, but Ross's cookbook/reference covers many more. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781885183231
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 1/5/1996
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author


Rosa Lo San Ross was raised in Macao and Hong Kong and has also lived in England, Italy, and the United States. She was Marcella Hazan's first student and also studied with James Beard. She teaches French, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking and runs a catering company in New York. From 1990 to 1994 she served on the board of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Her first book, 365 Ways to Cook Chinese (Harper Collins), was published in 1994.

Martin Jacobs, an award-winning photographer who specializes in food photography, has photographed many cookbooks. He co-authored Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking, which won IACP and James Beard Awards in 1991.

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Read an Excerpt


Garlic Chive Dumplings

Yields 36 dumplings

I love these delicious dumplings, which are a new variation on the delicate har kow shrimp dumplings that are basic dim sum cuisine. In this recipe, I use scallops instead of the more ordinary shrimp version you find in restaurants. Leftover dumplings can be frozen after they are cooked and reheated without defrosting.

2 cups green garlic chives (gau choy), about 6 ounces

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons thin soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

1 package wonton skins

36 bay scallops

Napa cabbage leaves to line bamboo steamer

Cut the garlic chives into 1/4-inch pieces. In a small skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the chives and saute until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil, and cornstarch mixture. Cook until thickened, stirring often, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool.

Use a pair of scissors or a round biscuit cutter to cut the wonton skins into 2 1/2-inch circles.

Place 1 teaspoon chive mixture in the center of each circle and press 1 scallop into mixture. Moisten edges with water, pleat half the circle, press edges together, and seal to form a crescent-shaped dumpling. Alternatively, pleat around in a circle and press edges together to form a beggar's purse. Repeat to form 36 dumplings.

Line a 9- or 10-inch bamboo steamer basket with cabbage leaves and place in a wok or deep-sided skillet filled with enough water to touch the bottom of the basket. Cover and steam 3 to 5 minutes to wilt the cabbage leaves slightly. Arrange the dumplings on the leaves and steam until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve warm with a soy sauce and vinegar dip and hot chili sauce.

Shiso Risotto

Yields 4 main-course or 6 side-dish servings

Shiso flavors rice beautifully, and as risotto is one of my favorite dishes, I find this combination to be very tasty. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese works very well. The rice can be served by itself, with fresh peas or sugar snaps folded in at the last five minutes. Lobster, scallops, or shrimp stirred in will turn it into an exotic seafood risotto.

2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons (optional) to fold in at the end

1 cup minced onion

5 shiso leaves (zi su), coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

4 1/2 to 5 cups unsalted or low-sodium chicken stock, kept at a simmer

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter, add the onion, and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the shiso and stir once or twice, then add the rice and stir until well coated with the butter.

One or two ladlefuls at a time, add the simmering broth, turning the rice constantly with a wooden spoon. When the broth is absorbed, repeat a little at a time, until each grain of rice is cooked completely through, but not falling apart. A good risotto should have a creamy consistency. The process takes 25 to 30 minutes.

Fold in the extra butter, if desired, and serve at once.

Green Papaya Pancakes

Yields about 36 3-inch pancakes

This recipe was suggested to me by my student Melody Santos, who is from the Philippines. I think these pancakes are delicious, and they make a great appetizer for cocktails. Serve them with a dipping sauce of thin soy sauce mixed with some lemon juice or rice vinegar.

1 green papaya (muk qwa), about 2 pounds

8 ounces medium shrimp

FOR THE BATTER:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 eggs, beaten

2 scallions, green and white parts minced

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Peel and cut the papaya in half. Using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds. Shred the papaya with a coarse grater or food processor. There should be about 5 cups packed.

Peel and devein the shrimp and coarsely chop by hand. Set aside.

Make the batter. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Add the beaten eggs and 1/2 cup cold water and whisk to a smooth batter. Fold in the scallions, papaya shred, and shrimp. Mix to blend well.

Heat a large, heavy skillet and pour in just enough oil to coat the bottom. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the papaya mix to form a pancake about 3 inches round. Cook 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat, then turn and cook an additional minute or until the pancake is lightly browned. Transfer pancake to a paper-towel lined plate and keep warm. Continue adding oil as needed until all the batter is used up, stirring the batter every now and then to keep it well blended. The pancakes may be reheated in a low oven. Serve hot.

Excerpted from Beyond Bok Choy. Copyright (c) 1996 by Rosa Lo San Ross. Reprinted with permission by Artisan.

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Table of Contents


Introduction

1. Leafy Greens

2. Gourds, Melons & Squashes

3. Roots, Rhizomes, Corms & Tubers

4. Sprouts, Shoots, Peas & Beans

5. Herbs

Conversion Chart

Acknowledgments

Seed Sources

Bibliography

IndeX

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