Why Pak Choi is a great plant to grow
What Is Pak Choi?
I am sure most of us have been encouraged by our mothers and grandmothers in our childhood to eat green, leafy vegetables. They would not miss an opportunity to smartly add some greens even to our noodles, pasta, or soups. The reason stands unchanged for all times—the numerous health benefits of consuming greens!
Winter is the best season to enjoy green, leafy vegetables as they are fresh. Also, one could consume them in a variety of ways. In India, we enjoy makhai ki roti (flatbread made with corn meal) and sarso ka saag (mustard greens). It is the most divine winter food and enjoyed across the country. We also devour methi paratha (flatbread made with fenugreek) and my mother makes delicious halwa (sweet pudding) with green peas.
Now is the time to add something new to your diet that has myriad benefits. Yes, it’s Pak Choi, known as Bok Choy, Pok Choi, or Pak Choi in different parts of the world. I have stuck with "Pak Choi" as it’s the British English spelling. This fancy-sounding vegetable originated in China eons ago, and its botanical name is Brassica rapa Var. China. Like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach, it belongs to the cabbage family. If you have not tasted it yet and are wondering what it looks like, it is between spinach and water chestnut. It is a staple ingredient in Asian food and grows well in cold climates.
Pak Choi can be consumed raw, stir-fried, or steamed. For all the weight-conscious people and health freaks, this vegetable is extremely low in calories and has an abundance of nutrition. If you like the pungent mustard flavour, you could have it raw in salads, stir-fry the vegetables, or steam with garlic, sesame, and sauces. Vegans or vegetarians could sauté it with mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, and tofu, while non-vegetarians could toss it with fish, chicken, or pork. One could also blend a healthy smoothie, and the best part is that the entire vegetable can be consumed. Its stem can be used for dips and presented in a creative way.
This green leafy vegetable is rich in vitamins A, B6, B9 (folate), C, and K. Apart from this, it is also high in nutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, and fibre, which aids digestion. Pak choi is also well-endowed with antioxidants and is a good source of the mineral ‘selenium’, which has anti-cancer benefits. This magic vegetable is also good for people with cardiovascular problems.
If you are wondering if there are any disadvantages of consuming the vegetable, Well!, raw pak choi has an enzyme named "myrosinase," which can interfere with thyroid function and prevent the body from absorbing iodine. Also, a lot of people have stomach issues if they consume uncooked vegetables. So listen to your body and eat accordingly. The key is moderation, and if you are eating the vegetable for the first time, I would suggest having it cooked. I hope I have convinced you to dive into this vegetable when you find it. Enjoy your greens and stay healthy!
Pak Choi Nutrition Facts: