Consumers have been spoiled for choice with shelves filled with new weird and wonderful veggies to experiment with. With consumers being more exposed to intriguing ingredients on cooking shows and Instagram, these vegetables are increasingly starting to make an appearance on our plates.
Below are our top six favourite ‘new’ vegetables that you might be lucky to try sometime. Keep your eyes peeled!
Romanesco broccoli, also known simply as Romanesco, resembles broccoli and cauliflower to some extent, except that its colour is a light-yellow green and it has a striking fractal shape. Although this veggie has been grown in Italy since the 16th century, it has only recently started to make a comeback in the modern diet.
Kohlrabi is German for ‘cabbage turnip’ and was created by genetically selecting to breed a type of cabbage with a swollen stem. There are several varieties of kohlrabie, including white and purple cultivars. Kohlrabi can be used raw in salads in the summer and works well in stews and soups in winter.
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a staple in Asian cooking. The Chinese cabbage has been popular in China since before the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 A.D.) and is now also popular in the West. It is commonly used in stirfry and soups. In Korea it is the main ingredient in spicy fermented cabbage known as kimchi.
Pak choi (or bok choy in American English), is another type of Chinese cabbage found widely in Western retail shops. This type of cabbage does not form heads like other cabbage varieties do – instead, they have leaves with small bulbs at the bottom of the stem.
Baby broccoli is better known by its trademarked names TenderstemÒ or BroccoliniÒ. It is a hybrid of broccoli and gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. Chinese broccoli has long stems and so do the baby broccoli. The florets of baby broccoli are also smaller than that of regular broccoli.
Parsnip is a root vegetable in the carrot and parsley family. The root slightly resembles a carrot but has cream-colored skin and flesh. This vegetable has been used since ancient times. Parsnips are usually cooked and can be used to make mash, or it can be roasted in the oven.
Baby broccoli tempura
200g tender-stem broccoli
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup cold water
Sunflower oil, for frying
- Sift the flour in a small bowl and keep it aside. In a separate bowl, beat the egg until just barely mixed. Add the ice-cold water to the beaten egg.
- Add the sifted flour into the bowl with the egg and water mixture, and lightly combine the flour using chopsticks.
- Pour the oil into a deep heavy-based pan to a depth of about 5cm, and heat until a little batter dropped carefully into the oil, sizzles and floats to the surface
- The batter should be used while very cold. Lightly coat the vegetable in flour and dip into the tempura batter.
- Serve the tempura with your favourite dipping sauce.
Parsnip French fries
200g parsnips, peeled
2 tablespoons oil
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and prepare a baking tray for the oven.
- Mix the oil, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Cut the parsnips into thin fries and toss it in the spicy oil mixture.
- Place the fries on the baking tray in an even layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes and turn the parsnips around. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes. – Ursula Human, FarmBiz