Everything You Need To Know About… Chinese Leaf
Chinese leaf is a type of cabbage that originally comes from around the Beijing region of China (hence its name), however these days its grown all around the world – including in Britain, from May to November.
During the UK season, we get our Chinese leaf from the family-owned G’s farm – they’ve been growing the cabbage in the black peaty soils of Norfolk for nearly 40 years. In winter and spring, we work with farmers in Portugal to keep the supply of cabbage flowing all year round.
Alan Grummitt, who’s been farming Chinese leaf with G’s for over 30 years, reckons there are two things that make it special:
At Gousto, we often use Chinese leaf in Asian-inspired dishes like our Indonesian Veggie Nasi Goreng and Asian Hoisin Meatballs & Sesame Cabbage recipes but, as Alan points out, there are many ways to cook this tasty vegetable!
3 Clever Ways To Use Chinese Leaf
1: Chinese leaf cups
Separate the leaves of the Chinese cabbage and make a sweet, salty, sticky and spicy beef filling to go inside. Fry beef mince, grated carrot, chopped garlic, ginger and chilli until the beef is crisp and browned all over. Next, add a couple of tablespoons of chilli jam and a splash of soy sauce and cook until sticky.
Fill the Chinese leaf cups with the spicy beef mix, top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and some cucumber matchsticks to cool everything down. (You can also do this with little gem lettuce, like in this recipe for Fast Mu Shu Pork Lettuce Boats)
2: Tasty taco toppings
Try fusing Mexican and Asian cooking by using Chinese leaf in taco recipes.
Shred the Chinese leaf and add it to a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of a lime and add a generous drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, chopped coriander and a little chopped chilli if you like it hot!
The result? A zingy and crunchy topping, perfect for spicy fish tacos.
3: Super quick kimchi slaw
- 1/2 Chinese leaf, shredded
- 100g radishes, grated
- 100g carrot, grated
- 4 spring onions, chopped finely
- 2 tsp Korean red pepper paste
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce soy sauce
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1. Shred the Chinese leaf finely
2. Trim, then slice the spring onions finely
3. Grate the carrot[s]
4. Grate the radishes
5. Combine the Korean red pepper paste, mayonnaise, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and black sesame seeds in a large bowl (big enough to fit all of the ingredients)
6. Add all of the chopped ingredients to the bowl and give everything a good mix up – this is your quick kimchi-style slaw!