Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brussels Sprouts with Fermented Beancurd

Malaysians call this “Choy Darm”, JB folks and Singaporeans call this baby kai lan as seen in this blog and this blog and many other blogs

Is this really kai lan?

Nope. It’s Brussels sprouts. Surprised???

It was during my 2nd year in Uni, when I took a paper on Olericulture and my lecturer had a session with us on local vegetable classification, and she told us that this is Brussels sprouts. I then asked her why is it not round and tight. She told me, it’s due to the weather. When the temperature is not cold enough, even our cabbages will not have tight heads. And Brussels sprouts grow below 24C, being the best at 15-18C, hahah, what do you think the temperature in Cameron Highland is??? Of course the Brussels sprouts won’t have tight heads. Not long after that session, she brought us up to Camerons for a field trip, and yeah, I saw them, sprouting from the sides of the stem at MardiPark in Tanah Rata. Yes, they don’t grow upright, but they sprout from the “armpits” of the main plant’s leaves. One plant can yield lots and lots of Brussels sprouts. And one just pluck the sprouts and let the main plant live and grow.

Lately the local brussels sprouts have rounder and tighter heads, maybe they got a new variety that was modified for higher temperatures. And the new ones were no longer as green as before as well.
You can just peel off the leaves one by one, and if they are too tight, just slice the head for stir fries.

Today, I don’t want to do the usual garlic stir fry with this, but I want to fry this with “Foo Yue”, a fermented beancurd.

200gm brussel sprouts
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 red chili, sliced
4 cubes preserved beancurd (white type)
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp cornstarch + ¼ cup water

1. Wash, peel or slice brussels sprouts.
2. Heat a wok on high heat, put in 2 Tbsp of oil, turn to medium heat.
3. Put in smashed garlic and fry until slightly golden and put in chili and preserved beancurd.
4. Mash perserved beancurd with spatula and fry until fragrant.
5. Put in sugar.Turn heat to high and put in brussels sprouts.
6. Toss everything, and put some water if too dry, but only put them on the sides of the wok, not directly onto the sprouts. Cook for about 1 minute.
7. Taste, if not salty enough, add some salt. Thicken with some cornstarch mixture.
8. Dish up and serve.

***Do not overcook brussels sprouts, as they may release a sulfurous smell.


  1. Oh ya.. it's the season of Brussels sprout! It reminds me xmas must have it cook with bacon. Delicious!

  2. I used to buy these quite often when I was at the nearest Parkson Supermarket (before they closed the market down and replaced it with Giant market). Now that you've shown these here, I think the ones I bought were imported ones as they were very rounded, tight and green, plus I learnt the name from the labels too.
    I only halved and stir-fried them with garlic only...never tried with foo-yu before.But anyway so difficult to get there here la.
    Eh, you cut them so big piece, your Lydia can eat ar?

  3. Hmmm...not sure if we call it kai lan here leh. ;P Really looks like cabbage to me. :D I guess can use your recipe for normal cabbage yah?

  4. This is also know as brussels sprouts in Sgp, definitely not baby kailan.

    Think I'm going to love this dish, I love veggies!

  5. i'm confused! to think i've always thought baby kailan is kailan that isn't fully grown. haha. anyway, like the fermented beancurd idea

  6. I don't usually cook brussels sprouts. My family doesn't like it. I am tempted to do so after seeing your pics. I'll probably have to eat it all by myself1

  7. Kitchen Corner,
    It's hard to get the imported ones here:(

    Swee San,
    I've got those that are more tight

    These is the usual green green type of choy darm that we get in wet markets. Just that recently the variety available has turned lighter and tigher.

    I knew about the name from reading a few Singaporean blogs.

    Blessed Homemaker,
    I think I should post another pic of the one that is refered to as Baby Kailan, which is greener and the head is pretty loose. I've seen that being called as baby kailan in a lot of Singaporean blogs

    No, real baby kailan really looks like kailan, with long petioles, just like a mini kailan

    It's nice ler.

  8. Deliziosi questi cavoletti li hai preparati con una bella ricetta , ciao

  9. I love to eat brussel sprout, just cook them with oil and garlic is good and yummy

  10. Stefania,
    thanks for dropping by

    Yeah, I like it that way tooo.

  11. I like it too. Normally I tear off the leaves one by one and stir fry it with garlic and oyster sauce.

  12. Oh, I really like choy tam, I always order this dish when eating outside.

  13. this dish looks simply yet delicious :)

  14. actually i prefer local Brussels sprout, Thanks for sharing this new way of cooking.

  15. I love this veg....really crunchy!

  16. The brussle sprouts we get here is smaller, not so leafy and tougher. It takes some time to cook it. I like to stir fry it with sambal :)

  17. hmmm...brussel sprouts..its a little hard to bite...haha...

  18. CarinE,
    chewing is good exercise for the gums :p


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