Friday, 7 January 2011

Give me Bok Choy

Our meal today was a weekday standby favourite Thai green curry but the vegetables this time were oyster mushrooms and bok choy - a Chinese cabbage that means 'white vegetable' in Cantonese.
The bok choy, also spelled pak choi, bok choi, and pak choy is a vegetable that grows quite happily in the U.K was succulent. It was a refreshing change from the broccoli and cauliflower I normally use. The oyster mushrooms were firm and rather meaty too.
We picked up most of these ingredients from a place called See Woo. It is perhaps the largest Oriental Food Specialists in Scotland that sells a wide selection of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese and other speciality products. If you can't find it in your supermarket, you are guaranteed to find that elusive ingredient here whether its dried, frozen, canned, preserved or fresh.

Many of you will know that I don’t really like shopping at Cash and Carry-like stores, and prefer supporting smaller independent traders, but I had another reason for treading here. I’ve been looking out for some 'vegetarian prawns'. I know it does sound like an oxymoron, but they do exist, honest.

We came home with some 'vegetarian prawns' that have gone straight into the freezer for another time, as well as some Thai green curry ingredients which included the above bok choy, oyster mushrooms as well as these two packets of dried mushrooms.
I am not familiar with either of these and have no idea why D picked them up, but now that we have them at home I am trying to familiarise myself with them without too much success.
So if Anyone has any suggestions or ideas what to do them I would totally appreciate it.


  1. What do you think of a nice bowl of spaghetti with mushrooms:)?


  2. Looks so delicious!

  3. Barbara,
    Do tell me more :)

    Thanks LeLa.

  4. What are veggie prawns made of? Tofu? Soya? I had no idea they existed. That bok choy looks delicious.

  5. Reconstitute the mushrooms with broth and use them instead of fresh ones in similar recipes. Also, without reconstitutiing, you can chop and use in loaves, soups, veggie patties.

  6. Ah yes. If all else fails, thai green curry. I have no idea what to do with those mushrooms besides curry or stew?

  7. I love bok choy!! Its soooooo underused in my opinion!!!

  8. depends how mushroomy they are doesn't it?
    I love a mushroom risotto and use porcini and fresh in that:
    veggie prawns sound intriguing:
    want to see!

  9. Yum! I would make a soup with the dried mushrooms, I have done this before and they were lovely.

    Hee hee, I read the vege prawn post... I like that they taste more like prawns than prawns :)

  10. I love the ingenuity of Oriental vegetarian food, though I've never seen vegetarian prawns before (I have seen sides of salmon and half roast chickens made out of tofu, and mutton made out of mushroom protein - much tastier than it sounds!).

    Black Fungus is one of my favourites, the flavour is quite mild, but it has a really good texture (it absorbs the flavours of what it's cooked with well). Soak for half an hour in boiling water, then slice into strips (discard any tough bits) & throw into a stir fry, Chinese soup or vegetable fried rice (or plain boiled rice). It's also good for improving the circulation too! I make a pretty good Asian risotto with sushi rice, dried mushrooms & chives :)

    The other variety I'm not too familiar with, but I'd recommend soaking in boiling water & treating the same. I buy big bags of sliced shitake mushrooms from Oriental supermarkets and add them to everything from risotto to vegetable stews!

    Hope that helps!

  11. Can't help with the mystery ingredients! I have some Pak Choi still growing away in the raised bed despite the horrible weather :)
    Whatever you decide to cook - enjoy

  12. This was all very interesting. I have never heard of vegetarian prawns so I was pleased to follow the link to that fabulous vegie fair. Yes, a cooler bag is always a good thing for events such as that.

    As for the dried mushrooms...I wonder if the first bag contains Chinese Black Mushrooms, which are usually soaked in hot water to reconstitute and then to use in whatever.... Perhaps the second bag would be used similarly. I have recently seen dried mushrooms blitzed and added to a hot broth to enhance flavor and I expect it makes a good mushroom broth to use in cooking. Well, good luck with them, I am sure they will be fun to experiment with.

  13. Hi Kath.
    Gluten wheat flour.
    Its an ingredient used extensively in vegan cookery in America. Its used to make many mock meet dishes. Still new to the U.K market.

    Thank you so much Rosaria for your lovely suggestions. I especially like the idea for using them inloaves without reconstitutiing.

    Thanks Carissa.
    Curry and stew sound good.

    Thanks Morgan.

    True chocolategirl64 - but I won't know until I've tried a little. Liking the mushroom risotto idea.

    The veggie prawns will feature soon on the blog as well as all the other frozen berries - a little bit of summer for the winter days.

  14. Thank you Ali.
    Soup is certainly one recipe I am likerly to make with the dried mushrooms, esp. now with your recommendation.

    I know its kinda funny about the prawns 'tasting more like prawns than prawns' :)

    Thanks littleblackfox.
    I so agree with your comment and the ingenuity of Oriental vegetarian food. Since seeing the vegetarian prawns, I've know seen other 'mock meet' products. I have to admit I have not seen 'roast chickens made out of tofu' or 'mutton made out of mushroom protein' - So, so interesting.

    Thank you for your ideas for the dried mushrooms. I've never had an Asian risotto made with sushi rice, so am real intrigued by this too.

    Ah that's okay Jane :)
    You are so lucky to have some Pak Choi still growing despite the recent weather, which apparently is set to come back again :(

    Thanks Gardeningbren.
    I know, I was amazed too when I saw them for real and moreso when I got to try one.

    I think you are right the first bag contains Chinese Black Mushrooms. I appreciate your suggestions and look forward to experimenting with them - who knows the end result may appear on my blog :)

  15. Mutton made of mushroom protein is quite chewy, a bit like tvp chunks. I've not tried the roast chicken, as it's painfully expensive, but its made from pressed, dried tofu.

    Zosui - Japanese risotto - is delicious! It's a real comfort food, more broth-y than risotto (though you can make it with less water). Here's a recipe

    Mashurumu to Ninjin no Zosui (Mushroom & Carrot Zosui)
    1 1/2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
    2 cups mushroom or vegetable stock (1 cup if you want a drier zosui)
    25g dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water & sliced (the soaking water can be used as part of the stock)
    1 carrot, sliced
    2 tbs soy sauce
    2 tbs chives or spring onions

    Put everything in a pan, bring to the boil & simmer for 10-15 minutes. I also like substituting the carrots for seaweed. Om nom nom!

  16. Wow, Thank you so much littleblackfox.
    So appreciate the additional comment and recipe.

  17. Just came across a mushroom recipe this morn in a book I recently got: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. If you go to amazon and find the title you can search inside the book for her "Three Kinds of Mushrooms" recipe; it includes a dried black mushroom, which appears to be one of your two pictured here. good luck!

  18. So appreciated Dmarie.
    I will definately check it out.
    Thank you once again.

  19. Oh, I should have said..if you soak the mushrooms in hot water to reconstitute...and use the water/broth as well (good too)...leave the grits at the bottom of your soaking dish as you don't want dirt in your broth)))). (sometimes with picking mushrooms and drying them, a little soil cannot be avoided)

  20. Thanks Gardeningbren.
    Much appreciated x


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