Here is the kind of cruciferous or cabbage vegetable I recently found at my favourite seller in Mongkok. Its name is wâa-wâa-choi 娃娃菜 which literally means “doll vegetable”.
This is the 2 lbs wâa-wâa-choi I bought!
The wâa-wâa-choi which looks like a bouquet of flowers or a head with lots of individual kind of small head cabbages is produced in
. It is in season right now with other vegetables belonging to the same mustard family including Chinese white cabbage or bok-choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, turnip, etc. Taiwan
I knew that the baby size of the Chinese cabbage also known as celery cabbage or Napa cabbage - in Cantonese wòhng-ngàh-baahk 黄牙白, was named wâa-wâa-choi 娃娃菜 but never heard of another vegetable with the same name and a different look.
Here are the dishes I made with the wâa-wâa-choi:
|Wâa-wâa-choi and pork
Wâa-wâa-choi and Pork Stir-Fry:
- 200g pork, sliced
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- ½ head (~1 lb) doll vegetable – wâa-wâa-choi - sliced (not too thin)
- 2 slices of ginger, crushed
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sprig of spring onion
1 tsp light soya sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp rice wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ cup water
1 tsp of tapioca starch
1 tsp water
½ tsp salt
- Toss the sliced pork in marinade ingredients and set aside in fridge for about ½ hour.
- Wash and peel any tough fibrous stalk. Pull out any damaged leaves.
- Cut off the small florets and cut into 2-3 pieces. Slice the stalk (centre part).
- In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, heat canola oil; add pork, brown well on all sides. Remove from wok and set aside.
- In same skillet - add oil if necessary - add ginger and garlic to stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the sliced doll vegetable and seasoning.
- Stir-fry for two minutes; add pork and cook until tender but crisp.
- Transfer to a serving dish.
- Add freshly ground black pepper and garnish with spring onion on top.
The doll vegetable is milder than Brussels sprouts in taste and has the same texture to that of a broccoli stem or a kohlrabi gaai-làahn-tàuh 芥蘭頭.
The problem (if I call this a problem) is that when you prepare meals for a small family a whole cabbage is too much for one dish and you don’t want to eat the same thing 2 days in a row.
The wâa-wâa-choi I bought weighed only 2 lbs but I only needed one half to make the above stir-fry. I wrapped the other half in newspapers and stored it in the fridge to sauté it with onion and fresh mushrooms a few days later.
And for the 2nd dish I paid attention not to overcook the wâa-wâa-choi as it tastes better crispy (and looks better too).
Wâa-wâa-choi stir-fries: light, easy, and healthy! Bon appétit!