Choy Sum is one of the most popular vegetables among the Chinese and is probably the most popular vegetable in Hong Kong. It is now also widely used in the western world; a member of the Mustard family is also referred to as a flowering pak choy or choy sum. Its green leaves are juicy and tender.
The flavour of Choi Sum can be described as midway between cabbage and spinach, it tends to be milder in younger leaves, and develops a little ‘kick’ in its older leaves. It is often described to be along the lines of a sweet, less bitter, broccoli raab.
The flowering shoots and younger leaves of choy sum are used in salads or stir-fried, lightly boiled or steamed and added to meat.
Rich in carotene (pro-vitamin A), calcium and dietary fibre, it also supplies potassium and folic acid, high in vitamin K which can be beneficial in the prevention of such diseases as osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.
Many Chinese recipes for such vegetables are so delicious that for me they are often the highlight of the meal.
This dish of bright, fresh greens in a radiantly delicious dressing uses a common Cantonese flavouring method in which cooked ingredients are scattered with slivered ginger and spring onions, followed by a libation of hot oil and a sousing of soy sauce.
Fresh choy sum has many vital B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Choy sum is an excellent source of water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin-C (ascorbic acid). 100 g provides 45 mg or 75 % of daily requirements of vitamin C.
Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C help the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.