Monday, May 18, 2009

What is Tat Soi?

tat soi

I first tasted tat soi about three years ago at the Santa Monica farmers' market. I was intrigued by its name and uniquely attractive appearance -- little bouquets of lush, dark green, spoon shaped leaves. When I asked the farmer what it tasted like, he pinched off a leaf, handed it to me, and said, "It's pretty strong. But here, try it for yourself." I took a small bite of the firm yet soft leaves and was struck by its sharp, spicy flavor that tickled my nose and tingled my palate. I said, "I'll take two bunches." I have been an ardent fan ever since.

Tat soi is a well loved Asian green that goes by many names including flat cabbage, rosette bok choy, and spoon cabbage. It's a member of the brassica family which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, and kale.

What does tat soi taste like? Tat soi tastes like a milder version of mustard greens and has a texture similar to bok choy. It's low in calories yet high in minerals, vitamins, and health-promoting antioxidants.

How do you cook with tat soi? Tat soi is most often eaten raw in salads. It's delicious in soups, or cooked (sauteed, boiled, or steamed) and served as an accompaniment to seafood, chicken, or tofu.

Where can you buy tat soi? Though tat soi is widely available at many California farmers' markets, you don't have to live in the Golden State to enjoy it. It's available at Asian markets; with its rising popularity over the last few years, many organic and specialty markets have begun carrying it as well.

tatsoi and tofu

This simple recipe features sauteed tat soi that is bathed in a tangy, spicy ginger sauce and paired with tofu, though grilled white fish or sauteed shrimp work well too. It's delicious served atop jasmine rice.

Gingery Sauteed Tat-Soi with Tofu Steaks
Serves 2
Print recipe only here.

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into "steaks"
1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
2 small bunches of tat-soi
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients from soy sauce through cayenne pepper.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add tofu steaks; cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to skillet; add tat soi; once wilted, add sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook just until sauce slightly thickens.

Divide greens on plates. Top with half of the tofu. Drizzle with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

You might also like:

Healthy Tofu and Vegetables with a Honey-Orange-Ginger Glaze

Asian Noodle Salad with Tofu and Mango

Mizuna and Broccoli Flower Salad

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