Also known as sweet stem broccoli. These young broccoli off-shoots are packed with crunchy flavour and are full of goodness. They are quick to cook and prepare. The entire floret and stem is edible. For Asian meals, steam or quickly boil as you would broccoli and serve drizzled with a little oyster sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Bellaverde is also great cut up into stir-fries. Alternatively, try it in a salad. Blanche and cool and add fresh herbs, orange zest, roasted pumpkin seeds and a vinaigrette. Readily available in vegetable stores all year round.
Baby white pak choy
With its succulent white stems and sweet, dark green leaves, the whole of this Asian vegetable is used. To prepare, blanch, drain and mix with a little oyster sauce and fresh ginger; chop and include in stir-fries and soups or quarter lengthwise, toss through a little soy, sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce and roast quickly in a hot oven.
Kai lan (or gai lan)
Also known as Chinese broccoli or kale, kai lan means "mustard orchid" in Cantonese and is closely related to cabbage. With emerald green stems and thick, glossy leaves, it has a nutty and bittersweet flavour perfect for quick stir-frying in a hot wok. Heat a little plain oil into a wok until smoking, add a bunch of roughly cut kai lan, a little crushed garlic, brown sugar and gin. Stir constantly, adding a little water to prevent it from burning, and cook until tender.
Literally "vegetable heart" in Cantonese, choy sum is the name given to the edible core of Chinese cabbage varietals, as well as the flowering core of kai lan. Choy sum can be distinguished by its small yellow flowerheads and bright green oval leaves. Mild and sweet with crunchy stems and soft leaves, it is perfect for stir-fries, soups, stews and even curries. Try it freshly washed, chopped and tossed raw through hot pasta to add a fragrant, nutritious, wilted green to the dish.