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Braised Taro with Kai Lan - Brassica Trio #1

Monday, May 23, 2011

Brassicas or Crucifers are a group of vegetables that include stuff like cabbages, choy sum, radish, daikon, mustard, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers and broccoli. Brassicas are good for you as they are high in vitamin C, soluble fibre and contain multiple nutrients and phytochemicals with potential anti-cancer properties. Most of the vegetables we consume are from this family, even Wasabi is.

Kailan is a member of the Brassica family. It has leaves that seem to have a layer of bloom over it. When I was a kid, I was scared to eat it, because I was told by my “smart” brother, that whitish silvery layer contains mercury. Well, up until today, I don’t think I still believe that, but then again, I don’t know how much truth there is to there. Haha!

When I saw this dish on Elin’s, I knew I just got to try this. It’s so special. I think she used the same type of kailan as I did. Or maybe she really did use baby kailans as I can’t really see from the pics. FYI, baby kailans here are really miniature kailan, that really looks like a kailan with long petioles, a stem but in miniature form. The stem is just anywhere 5mm-8mm thick only. But it’s long, up to 6 inches in length. Hong Kong kailan is about the same length, but the stems are fatter and leaves are thicker. But looks wise, similar. Regular kailans can have stems with similar width as Hong Kong Kailans but much larger, up to 1 ft in length. But then again, feel free to use whichever kailan you prefer.

Braised Taro with Kailan
Recipe source: Elin Luv Tidbits

250gm taro (cleaned weight), cut thumbsized
2 Tbsp dried shrimp
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 cups water

500gm Hong Kong Kailan
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil

1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Put in salt and oil. Blanch kalian for 1-2 minutes (I like mine not too cooked)
3. Remove from water and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (Or you can do step 1-3 while you braise the taro, if you have more than one available stove)
4. In a wok, heat up and put in 2 tbsp of cooking oil.
5. Put in garlic and dried shrimp and fry until fragrant.
6. Put in taro and cook for 1 minute. Put in water and simmer on medium low heat until taro turns soft and the gravy looks creamy. (Remember to check water once a while)
7. Put in salt, sugar and pepper.
8. Return blanched kailan to wok and toss it around. Cook until the kalian warms up again.
9. Dish up and serve.

*It's a bit sad that my taro is not that creamy, no matter how long I braise it. Buying taro is sometimes like buying lottery. Haha. Even Thai taro may not give me favourable results each time. But the overall dish is indeed nice.

12 lovely notes:

Elin May 23, 2011 at 11:46 AM  

Wow...yours looks better than mine :) but tastewise it is the same. Thanks for the detailed write out on the kailan and the link up :)

Still waiting for Mister R and let us know when he decides to join us on this planet :)) Have a smooth delivery and God Bless !

cik cek May 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM  

Hai Wendy....

Sayur Kailan...memang fav kak cek...suka sgt...:)

Small Kucing May 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM  

alamak! thsnk u for posting this Kai Lan post. I forgotten I have Kai Lan in the fridge. Hope not rotten yet. I wanna try your recipe

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) May 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

i tried Elin recipe too, and due to the taro i used not creamy, not that good taste, I want to try again once i got the best taro.

Pete May 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

Interesting combination. Love both kailan and taro!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM  

You can have a sneak preview of Mr R if you want to visit me in ISH when he's out.
I'll sms u. The recipe's very special and nice, thanks a lot.

cik cek,
Cubalah kalo suke

Small Kucing,
Oh, I hope you'll love it

Yawoh, if the taro not creamy, not that nice.

It's fabulous!

lena May 23, 2011 at 10:52 PM  

i've also made cooked this before..creamy and crunchy!i also do not know how to pick a good yam, so many times i have to do a little sweet talk with the vegetable seller, hoping she will pick a good one for me!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 24, 2011 at 12:59 AM  

I think sometimes they also dunno how to select one for u.
Got once a farmer in Camerons told me his taro was good, and it was almst 1.5ft long, it was huge. I remember eating taro balls at his stall and it was damn good. I bought his huge taro, and when I cooked it, it was crunchy. Sigh!
When I went back to his stall on the next trip (I am a regular, I patronize his stall every trip and he recognises me), he apologized and he said, the lastest batch were all dissapointing and he dug them all up and discarded them. So, even the farmers themselves find it hard to tell, LOL.

lena May 24, 2011 at 9:30 PM  

you know, sometimes they also cut a small portion out from that yam and then look at the knife after cutting, if they see that creamy 'substance' on the knife, they will say that's a good one but i still cant tell even looking at the knife.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 24, 2011 at 11:23 PM  

Yawoh, the market ppl do that too. But hoh, not juun one leh.If they only sell those with the whitish stuff, the other taros no need to sell oredi lor, LOL.

Shirley @ Kokken69 May 25, 2011 at 12:58 AM  

Kailan reminds me of my boyfriend. Not too long after I had met him, he showed off his fiery temper by getting into an argument with a coffee shop owner for serving bitter kailan.... I will always remember that episode and never let him off easily when we have kailan :)

Quay Po Cooks May 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM  

I have tried baby bok choy with taro not kai lan. Got to try this next time. I agree with you that buying a creamy taro. To fine a creamy one is like finding needles in the sea.

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