Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cabbage, Bean Curd and Pork Ribs Casserole & The vegetable (Choi菜) family

Cruciferous are vegetables (choi ) of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). They are said to contain a good amount of calcium and phosphorus as well as many other minerals and vitamins. They are our good friends and should be included in our daily meals.

Although most of the cruciferous are available all year round they are cool season crops.
Here are the most common cruciferous vegetables (in alphabetical order) found at Hong Kong markets (most of them are pictured on my Local Vegetables Page).

Lace pattern of superimposed cabbage leaf-layers
  1. Broccoli 西蘭花 sâi-làahn-fâa (western- orchid-flower)
  2. Cabbage 椰菜 yèh-choi (coconut vegetable). The variety with large  blue leaves is called 甘藍 gâm-làahm – sweet blue)   
  3. Cauliflower 椰菜花 yèh-choi-fâa (coconut-vegetable-flower)
  4. Celery cabbage / long cabbage 黃牙白 wòhng-ngàah-baahk (yellow-tooth-white / 紹菜siuh-choiShao –short for Shaoxing- vegetable)
  5. Chinese flat cabbage 塌棵菜 taap fó-choicollapse vegetable.Hails from Shanghai and, correct me if I am wrong, is called 太古菜 taai-gú-cài in Shanghainese.  
  6. Chinese kale  芥蘭 gaai-làahn (mustard-orchid)
  7. Chinese radish 蘿蔔 lòh-baahk (radish-turnip)
  8. Chinese white cabbage 白菜 baahk-choi  (white-vegetable)
  9. Flowering white cabbage 菜心 choi-sâm  (vegetable-heart)
  10. Kohlrabi 芥蘭頭 gaai-làahn-tàuh  
  11. (Leaf) mustard 芥菜 gaai-choi (mustard-vegetable): Swatow mustard green 大芥菜 daaih-gaai-choi / Bamboo mustard green 竹芥 jûk-gaai (bamboo-vegetable)
  12. Shanghai white cabbage síu-tòhng-choi 小堂菜 (small- cherry-apple - vegetable)
  13. Watercress 西洋菜  sâi-yèuhng-choi (western-vegetable).
Unlike the gourd/melon family whose members‘names finish with the character gwâa the cruciferous vegetables’ names do not always end with choi .

The most ubiquitous Hong Kong vegetables (cruciferous) are certainly the flowering white cabbagethe celery cabbage, and the Chinese radish. 

Today I am going to share a recipe that uses cabbage. Although it takes longer to cook than a stir-fry (as it is the case for casseroles) it is quite easy to prepare and the ingredients are easy to find too.

Cabbage 椰菜 yèh-choi

Cabbage, bean curd and pork ribs casserole


This recipe has been adapted from the book Chopsticks Recipes Chinese Casseroles by Cecilia J. Au-Yeung.

  • 1 catty (~600gr) pork ribs (cut into big 5cm length)
  • 1 block hard bean curd (cut into large cubes)
  • 1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 spring onions, chopped   
  • 2 slices ginger, shredded
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp shrimp paste (specialty of Cheung Chau)
  • 1 tsp rice wine, ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  1. Wash and chopped the spring onions and the cabbage.
  2. Brown meat (this is the technique for removing as much as possible fat from pork ribs, yet it allows the meat to brown and be tasty): Put pork ribs in a pot and add water to just cover the meat. Put lid on. When there is almost no more water left, open lid and let liquid evaporate completely. You will be left with some fat. Scoop it out and throw it. Continue cooking the meat until it turns golden-brown. Remove meat from pot.
  3. Fry bean curd pieces in a frying pan; discard.
  4. In the same pot you browned the meat stir-fry ginger and garlic.
  5. Add shrimp paste.
  6. Return the meat to the pot; pour in the seasoning and cook for about 45 minutes.
  7. Add the bean curd and cabbage and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Transfer into a large dish. Sprinkle with spring onion.

Note: you can adjust the amount of shrimp paste according to your taste (add more for a saltier and fishier flavour).

Collage with ingredients used to make the casserole

I am looking forward to the opening of Island East Markets on Sept 30, 2012 to buy locally grown choi ! I’m sure you are too!
Let’s together support IEM and Hong Kong local farmers and produce.

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