Pak choi, bok choy, choy sum and mustard cabbage are some of the varieties popping up in our veggie patch since planting the mystery punnet of seedlings called ‘Asian Greens’.
This is the first crop in our brand new vegetable garden. We’re beyond excited every day to see new growth. Thankfully, Asian greens grow quickly and keep feeding our excitement regularly, before we feed on them.
Other than harvesting and cooking the homegrown greens, our second joy is sharing the extra produce with our friends. It’s a beautiful exchange; we gift something we’ve proudly grown and learnt how to cook, and they provide hilarious conversations and, maybe, some dessert.
Recently, on my way to a friend’s house with a bundle of veggies in tow, I made a quick stop at Northcote’s renowned organic store, Terra Madre. It can be so difficult to find parking there, and eventually I found space in a side street. It was the sweetest little detour, as I ended up on a road where the majority of the neighbourhood were out in their front yards or tending to the shared street garden. They had sunflowers and veggies growing in abundance. Some kind soul even gave me a bunch of lavender!
In Gippsland, the town of Foster has a similar passion for turning the council gardens into vibrant veggie patches. They currently have chillies, capsicums, silverbeet, thyme, oregano, celery, corn, chives, marigolds and eggplant growing in the verges and roundabouts of the village. The community’s green thumb even made it onto Gardening Australia. How lovely must the energy be there, with scented, edible and bright garden beds everywhere with everyone sharing their tips on how to cook this and that?
Perhaps we can provide you with some tips learnt from our summer crop, so you can barter with Shirley when you bump into her at a Foster roundabout picking fresh celery sticks?
Vegetables like pak choi, bok choy and silverbeet are best cooked at high heat in a wok, steamed or added to curry/stew right at the end of cooking. Stems and leaves cook at different speeds. You may prefer to cook the stems for two minutes, then throw in the leaves for a minute at the end. Asian greens are happy when planted with peas, celery, beetroot, potatoes, calendula flowers, nasturtiums and dill.
The vegetables chosen for our Low FODMAP Thai Curry are currently in season and the measurements are suitable for someone on a Low FODMAP diet. What does this mean? The Low FODMAP diet is recommended for people with gut issues and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The diet is low in fermentable carbohydrates (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). For people following the Low FODMAP diet, it all comes down to quantities and ratios. Another fun tip for good ol’ Shirl!
Low FODMAP Thai Curry.
1 Celery Stick (30g)
½ Long Red Chilli
1 tbsp grated fresh Ginger
1 tsp ground Coriander
½ tsp ground Cumin
1 tbsp Lemongrass
1 tbsp Lime Juice
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 x 400ml Coconut Cream
½ bunch fresh Coriander
½ Red Capsicum (100g)
1 x handful of Snow Peas (50g)
140g Pak Choi
400g Rockling Fish (firm white fish)
½ tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1–2 tsp Fish Sauce (optional)
1 / Finely dice celery and red chilli. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with a splash of olive oil to coat the base. Add celery, chilli and grated ginger to the pan and sauté for two minutes.
2 / Add ground coriander, cumin, lemongrass, lime juice, soy sauce and coconut cream to your blender and blitz until smooth, then add to the pan.
3 / Finely chop fresh coriander. Cut capsicum into strips then add to the pan and simmer for five minutes.
4 / Slice fish fillets into 3cm cubes, then add to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Slice the pak choi into 4cm strips. Throw in the snow peas and pak choi and cook for a further two to three minutes. Turn off the heat and season with salt, pepper, and the fish sauce, if you wish.
5 / Serve with basmati rice.