Monday 14 June 2010

Grow pretty Chinese veg: Tatsoi and Kale

A bouquet of Kale from the garden

A few months ago, longing for the taste of Chinese vegetables which had now become a distant memory, I decided to sow a mix of Oriental vegetable seeds.   Some of the baby leaves were continuously picked and eaten by us in salads, whilst others were left to grow.

And then finally, over the weekend, we found ourselves face-to-face with a vegetable garden with lots of lovely looking Tatsoi and Kale, all ready for us to devour.  So pretty were they, that I almost wanted to leave them in the ground to have as decorative plants!

The Kale was a variety that had slightly curled leaves with long green stems and made for a very pretty vegetable 'bouquet'.

Two heads of Tatsoi (at the back) amongst other dark green leafy vegetables

And what is Tatsoi? Well, now that I've successfully grown it, tested it and tried it, I can say that it's definitely one to watch, grow and eat. Its a flavoursome vegetable that tastes somewhere in between Choy Sum and Kailan. And if that doesn't mean anything to you, then think of the leafy greenness of spinach (without the harsh irony flavour) crossed with the stems of Pak Choi

And how easy is it to grow, you may ask.  Well, considering that this time last year, I would have struggled to explain the difference between an 'annual' and a 'perennial', I daresay that I am a good person to benchmark yourself against.  Take my word for it, its so easy that I've just put in another round of seeds to start the whole cycle once again!

Interestingly enough, Tatsoi is not a vegetable that is commonly used in Chinese cooking.  In fact, I can't say that I've ever eaten it in Chinese cuisine.  However, it tastes simply delicious stir fried or steamed and drizzled with Oyster sauce.

How I grew mine:

1. I placed my seeds into a container with soil and wait until they had sprouted and grown two leaves

2. I then had to 'thin' the seedlings out as they were overcrowded. Either pull some of them out or plant them out into a larger area and place them approximately 3" apart in the ground. I grew them outdoors for the entire growth period (April to June, which is Spring time in the UK).

You can see a small Tatsoi growing in the bottom left hand corner

 3. Water them every day. Then, stand back and wait (don't watch them, you know what they say about boiling kettles.)

If you feel inspired to do some gardening and grow your own vegetables, then here is more information:
Seeds: Suttons - Leaf Salad Stir Fry mix (Speedy Veg)
Compost: New Horizon Vegetable Compost (Organic & Peat Free)

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