Friday, 17 April 2009
WOMBOK or otherwise also known as Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, napa cabbage, tientsin cabbage or wong nga pak (Brassica campestris subsp. napus var. pekinensis) is a type of Chinese cabbage originating in China and is widely used in East Asian cuisine. In Korean cuisine, it is used in making the most common type of kim chi. The kim chi is made from WOMBOK pickled in salt, garlic and chilli.
WOMBOK has a sweet, mild flavour which is quite different to European cabbage. While the leaf blades can be slightly peppery, the thick white ribs are sweet and juicy. The inner leaves have been protected from the sun, so are particularly tender and succulent.
There is almost no end to the ways WOMBOK can be used. Its sweet flavour and crunchy texture make it perfect for use in a coleslaw, or as a change from shredded lettuce on a sandwich or hamburger. Shredded wombok is also a key ingredient in dumplings and rolls. It can also be boiled in a soup, braised in a casserole, or stir fried with other ingredients. The leaves can be used as wrappers for other foods during steaming. As it absorbs flavours during cooking, it is equally at home in a spicy meat dish or a delicately flavoured stir fry with fish or tofu.
WOMBOK has been cultivated in China since the 5th Century and remain one of the most popular vegetables in Asia. Although seeds were taken from China to Europe in the mid 1700s, the WOMBOK remained a curiosity among Europeans until the 1970s when commercial crops were grown in Israel and the Napa Valley in California.
Like broccoli, turnips and many Asian leafy vegetables, WOMBOK belong to the brassica family. WOMBOK is not a naturally occurring plant; it is thought to be a cross between a warm climate leafy brassica species (such as buk choy) and the cool climate turnip. There are tens if not hundreds of varieties, ranging from compact round barrels to long, slim cylinders.
While most varieties do best under cool conditions, WOMBOK can be grown at various times of year across Australia. They are field grown and harvested when the heads are firm and appear mature. Similar to open-hearted lettuces, the leaves can be harvested while the WOMBOK grows.
WOMBOK contain significant quantities of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C. Like other brassicas, WOMBOK also contain glucosinolates. This group of sulphur compounds are widely believed to reduce the risks for certain cancers. They may also limit some factors that lead to cardiovascular disease.
Source: Wikipedia, NSW DPI, AusVeg and NineMSN