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Fresh Produce

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

There are many kinds of fresh produce that are used in Asian cooking. Most are common ones you are probably familiar with. Here I'll list and describe a few of the ones you may not be as familiar with and tell you where I use them.

Nappa Cabbage

This cabbage is delicate and has a sweet flavor when cooked. I like using them in everything from savory dumpling fillings to soups to kimchi. It is so versatile! In soups it becomes soft and sweet and absorbs all the flavors of the soup. In dumpling filling it adds sweetness and a little crunch. As kimchi, it's sweetness balances the spicy from pepper flakes and sourness from fermentation while maintaining a bit of crunch for texture.

Bok Choy

From the cabbage family, this is one of many vegetables called "bok choy". This type has a delicate stem and tender leaves. Great in stir frys, blanched and added to noodle soups, or added directly in your hot pots!

Green Onions/Scallions

Green onions are not just a garnish! They add a mild oniony taste to dishes and a pop of color and crunch as a finishing touch for many dishes. Essential in almost every savory Asian dish.

Try growing them in your garden. Instead of discarding the root end after purchasing a bunch, stick them in some soil and they will keep growing!


Not to be mistaken for or substituted out for parsley, cilantro has a distinctly aromatic, slightly lemony flavor. Some people say it tastes "soapy". It is used fresh as a garnish, an herb and as an ingredient in many Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Not my favorite ingredient to eat straight but it is an absolute essential ingredient in many dishes from curry to guacamole. This herb is best stored upright in a container of water as you would flowers. Easy garden herb too!

Garlic Chives

Garlic chives look more like grass than chives but the blades are thicker and succulent. They have a mildly garlic flavor and work well in so many dishes in many Asian cuisines. Chop and stir fry with eggs for an easy side dish, add to dumpling filling or use in kimchi! Easy to grow in the garden too as it self seeds.

Asian Radishes/Turnips

On the left is a daikon and on the right is a Korean radish. Many uses for each and they have slightly different tastes and textures but they can be interchanged. I read that the more green on the Korean radish, the sweeter it is. These radishes soak up flavor when cooked or make excellent pickles and kimchi retaining their crunch and subtle sweetness.

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