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.