A couple of days ago, while seeking shelter from the torrential downpour that crazy London has been experiencing lately in Chinatown, I came across this green rosette-like vegetable that I remember from back when I was a child.
There are many names for this wonderful vegetable, I known it as taai goo choy, but it also called tat soi/tot soi in Japanese and Chinese flat cabbage or rosette bok choy. Coming from the same family as the Chinese white cabbage, it has tiny spoon-like leave that grows flat and round, spreading out like a blossoming flower, which is rather unusual and beautiful to look at. Unlike the white cabbage, it has darker green leaves which are stronger and peppery in taste and has a tougher texture. It is great for used raw in salad as well as lightly wilted in quick stir fry dishes.
Due to it's abundance of leaves, it is also considered as very lucky and auspicious. My family would used to served this during Chinese new year celebration, cooked alongside with another auspicious ingredient, Fat Choy (black moss) in a sweet oyster sauce.
With this and some tiger prawns that I have bought from the market on the day, I made a very simple stir fry dish for supper. Feel free to substitute the flat cabbage with other Chinese greens but I simply adore the crunchiness and flavour of this vegetable.
400g raw tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
3 or 4 Chinese rosette cabbage, separate the leaves, washed and dry thoroughly
2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the prawns and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until it turned pink before adding the cabbage leaves and stir fry for another 30 seconds., until they just wilted. Add the rice wine, soy sauce and toss together. Season with black pepper and add the sesame oil.
Served immediately with some steamed rice.