As oriental dishes are becoming more popular in America, so are the vegetables used in those dishes. You can grow these unusual Asian vegetables in your own organic garden.
Mizuna: Also know as Japanese Greens, Japanese Mustard, Spider Mustard and many more.
Mizuna is a compact green plant with fringed, dark green leaves that can be used cooked or fresh. This plant has been described to be slightly spicy and have mild peppery flavor. One can use the leaves in a fresh salad, cooked in a stir fry, steamed, or even boiled. Add them to a clear soup to add color and texture.
The best time to sow seeds is in early spring. You will want to grow this plant like spinach. Space the plants about 6 inches apart. This plant is good for successive plantings. You can harvest the entire plant, or just some of the leaves.
Shungiku: Also known as Chrysanthemum, Tong Hao in Chinese, Ssukgat in Korean, and Kikuna in Japanese.
Shungiku is a beautiful plant that has single yellow flower which are edible, but it is mostly known for the leafy green leaves. Both the leaves and the flowers can be enjoyed in a fresh salad either alone or with other Asian vegetables. You may use the leaves in stir fry, casseroles, soups or many other hot dishes although it is recommended that you wait to the last minute to add the Shungiku leaves. These leaves cook quickly and are known to loose their structure.
Sow seeds in early to mid spring and early fall. This vegetable will not do well during summer conditions causing it to go into premature flowering. You may harvest individual leaves or the entire plant. Thin the plants as needed while enjoying the thinned plants in your favorite dishes.
Daikon: Also known as Chinese Radish, Aukobi-Daikon, or Asian Radish.
Daikon is a torpedo shaped radish that comes in many colors but most commonly white. Larger breeds can get up to 2 ft long and 3 in wide. The root (radish part) is mildly spicy and adds flavor to salads, sauces, and stir fries. In Korea, the daikon is traditionally made into a diced sweet pickle. You can steam the peppery leaves or add them to a soup.
Sows seeds during the spring for a summer harvest, and fall for a winter harvest. When purchasing your seeds, select the variety for the season you are planning on planting. Plants should be spread 6 inches apart. They take about 60 days until harvest. Carefully dig up the entire plant.
Growing unusual Asian vegetables in your own organic garden is fun and exciting. If you decide to grow these or any other Asian vegetables, you better get your Asian cookbook out and get ready to make some delicious meals!