One of the commonly consumed greens in Singapore, the Xiao Bai Cai has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years by the Chinese. While it may not look like it, it is actually a member of the Cabbage family and is also called the Chinese Cabbage. The Xiao Bai Cai may have its roots in most of Asia and Southeast Asia, but its popularity has seen this leafy green make its way to California and parts of Canada!
The Cai Xin is a smaller and more delicate version of the Xiao Bai Cai.
Also Known As
Chinese Cabbage; Bok Choy; Pak Choy; Siow Pek Chye
The Xiao Bai Cai has a very mild flavor and has a sweet aftertaste. Many go so far as to say that it is succulent. If you have a very sensitive palate, you might describe its taste to be that of a cross between the cabbage and the lettuce with a slight tang. but it has a distinct taste unique only to the Xiao Bai Cai. If eaten raw, there is a slight bitter taste that many people usually counter with a sweet vinaigrette.
i) Vitamins – Like most leafy greens, the Xiao Bai Cai is a good source of Vitamin A and C.
ii) Minerals – The Xiao Bai Cai is also rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. Potassium is an important for regulating heart rate and blood pressure.
iii) Others – Containing glucosinolates, this leafy vegetable has compounds that have been reported to prevent cancer in small doses. It also has unique sulfur-containing compounds that may reduce the risk of breast, prostate, lung and digestive tract cancers.
Choosing your Xiao Bai Cai
Both the leaves and the stalks of the Xiao Bai Cai can be cooked, but be sure to separate them before washing so that both parts are thoroughly cleansed before cooking or consumption. For optimal freshness, don’t wash it until you’re ready to use. Unwashed and unused parts can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Holes in the leaves are normal and a sign that no chemicals were used in the farming process.
Consuming the Xiao Bai Cai
The Xiao Bai Cai is commonly used for stir-fries, but they are also good for braising and soups. Many people have also started to consume it raw in salads due to its mild flavor.
Feature Image: superfoodprofiles.com