From Chinese Pak Choi to Japanese Sweet Potatoes, a variety of beautiful Asian produce is in peak season right now. There are so many ways to include these unique produce items, from stir-fry to roasting, in your cooking rotation this week.
These purple-skinned potatoes are a little sweeter than your standard sweet potato with a slightly firmer texture. The inside of the sweet potato is white or pale yellow and cooks into a soft and sweet flesh. The skins can be bitter and tough to eat, but the level of bitterness can depend on the potato.
You may notice some scratches to the delicate purple skin – a perfectly natural side effect of harvesting. Store in a cool dry place in your pantry and use within 7-10 days.
Kabocha squash, also known as a Japanese pumpkin, is used in a variety of Asian dishes. Think of it as a cross between a pie pumpkin and a sweet potato- the skin is a dark green color and the inside is a rich orange-yellow color. Simply cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast as you would a normal squash. Cube to toss in a variety of seasonings for faster cooking.
Bok Choy (or Pak Choi) is a type of Chinese cabbage that is widely used in Asian cooking. Similar looking to a squat celery, bok choy has white stalks and round, leafy greens. It is best used in stir-frys or wilted in soups. As bok choy is mostly water, it is vegetable that is easily fermented in dishes like kimchi or sauerkraut. Recipes: Chicken Stir Fried with Bok Choy (BBC Food), Chili and Ginger Stir-Fried Broccoli and Bok Choy (Tesco), and Bok Choy with Honey, Garlic and Soy (Taste)
If you’re not really into turnips, you might want to give this varietal a try. Sweet and mild, this Japanese root vegetable has a more palatable texture and flavor profile compared to traditional turnips. Turnips are actually a member of the mustard family and have a have a peppery bite that mellows when cooked. Typically smaller in size, White Salad or Hakurei Turnips are similar to a radish and can be enjoyed cooked or raw. These turnips may also come attached to their greens in your bushel— be sure to utilize the leafy greens in soups, pestos, salads or simple sauteed greens. Recipes: Sautéed Japanese Turnips With Turnip Greens Recipe (Serious Eats), Japanese Turnips with Miso (Epicurious)