Chinese broccoli (brassica alboglabra)

This very nutritious green leafy plant with smooth round stems and small white flowers is sometimes called Chinese kale. That name should tell you that it is not quite the same thing as broccoli but resembles Swiss chard. It is a delicious vegetable but earthy in taste and slightly bitter, perhaps the price to pay for its being so rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

Chinese broccoli is usually prepared by blanching in boiling salted water and then is served with oyster sauce – it has character enough to go well with that distinctively flavoured condiment. It also works well in stir-fries with meats, to be served with noodles and soups.

Shopping tips

Look for stems that are firm and leaves that look fresh and are deep olive green.

Storage notes

Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.

Useful hints

Use Chinese broccoli the way you would use regular broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, and rape greens (broccoli di rape). It is one of the world’s most nutritious vegetables, with one of the highest calcium contents of any food.

© Ken Hom and reproduced with his kind permission.