Harvest Monday, December 2, 2013 – Container Gai Lan + Sunchoke + A Stir-fry

My container gai lan (Chinese broccoli) survived the frigid (+/-15°F) night time temperature we had days ago. I got a harvest, about ½ pound, which will be the last.

Gai lan (05990)

Gai lan growing in window box

Gai lan (05995)These gai lan I planted in window boxes did better than the ones I planted in the garden even though they were attacked by insects (see above photo).

I harvested the main shoots some weeks ago and was really surprised, and needless to say pleased, to see these side shoots.  They were quite fat and tender.

◊ ◊ ◊

Brought home some beautiful sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) from Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden (LGHVG) few weeks ago. They are placed, unwashed, in a storage container, covered with damp pro-mix (sand will work also) and stored in the shed for use throughout the winter. Must move the container into my unheated garage at a later date before the shed door gets blocked by snow.

Experimented with window boxes to store the root veggies last winter and the results were excellent, decide to try larger storage containers this time.

Sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke (6013)

Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke)

Sunchoke flowers (03906)NOTE: Sunchoke has a high content of inulin that some people are unable to digest thus causing intestinal distress (extreme gas pain). The first time you are introduced to sunchoke, eat a small portion to see how your system handles it. For more about sunchoke, click here.

Right photo: Sunchoke flowers

◊ ◊ ◊

Had some shrimp in the freezer so decided to make a shrimp, gai lan and sunchoke stir-fry (substitute other veggies for the gai lan).

Gai lan & sunchoke (05997)

Shrimp, Gai Lan & Sunchoke Stir-fry

1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed and pat dry
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper or to taste
½ teaspoon maple syrup or light brown sugar
2 – 3 slices fresh ginger
Combine all the above. Set aside while you gather and prepare the other ingredients
½ – ¾ pound gai lan cut into bite-sized lengths (using both leaves and Shrimp, gai lan & sunchoke stir-fry (06002)stalk, including flowers)
¼ – ½ pound sunchoke, peeled and thinly sliced
few strips of red onion
1 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
½ – ¾ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water
2 – 3 tablespoons oil

1. Add 1 tablespoon oil to preheated wok or frying, add salt and veggies, stir-fry until gai lan turns a bright green color, adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time if wok or frying pan is dry (to prevent burning). Remove to a clean platter and set aside.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to wok or frying pan, add garlic, stir-fry for a few seconds, add shrimp, stir-fry until shrimp changes color
3. Add veggies, continue stir-frying until shrimp is cooked and veggies are to desired doneness. Remove and discard ginger slices, if desired.
4. Add broth, bring to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch mixture. Adjust taste and serve with rice or pasta.

VARIATION 1: Stir in 1 tablespoon oyster sauce during step 4.
VARIATION 2: Substitute 6 – 8 ounces of tofu for the shrimp.

Oops, the sunchoke slices are barely peeking out in the above photographed dish (they got buried). Could not retake the photo as the dish was eaten when I noticed the issue, so sorry.

Click here for a vegetable medley that includes chicory (radicchio) and sunchoke.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays


About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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52 Responses to Harvest Monday, December 2, 2013 – Container Gai Lan + Sunchoke + A Stir-fry

  1. Eva Taylor says:

    Great harvest Norma! I’m intrigued by the Chinese broccoli, is the flavour the same as traditional broccoli? I I’ve the colours in your stir fry, just beautiful! I can see the JA just fine.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Chinese broccoli has a finer texture, especially the stems, than regular broccoli, next time you visit TNT look for them, the flowers are white and is edible, the leaves also are edible. You may need to peel the root end of the stem if it appears a bit “woody”.

  2. Karen says:

    Norma, this sounds like a delicious stir fry. Your window box experiment certainly has paid off.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Karen,
      Yes, my window box experiments have paid off but it is not a practical way to garden especially if one travels during gardening season. Now that I know what will work and what will not do as well I will, in the future, use window boxes as season extenders in the spring and fall.

  3. A very delicious stir-fry!

  4. Daphne says:

    That looks delicious. And I’m so hungry right now.

  5. Nice winter harvest!

    I really should try sunchokes, as I’m now allergic to potatoes.

  6. Sounds like a great stir-fry!

  7. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Ha! I can relate Norma; nothing more annoying than discovering one of the star ingredients is buried under the other ingredients in a photo. I usually have a starving family waiting for their dinner whilst photographing so rarely get a second chance either. Your stir-fry still looks gorgeous! Interesting learning about sunchoke, both the inulin content and how to store them through Winter.

  8. Dave says:

    I am glad you mentioned that people should taste the sunchokes. I can’t handle inulin from any source. I love the taste of sunchokes though! And they add a nice crunch to recipes.

  9. Kristy says:

    Your stir fry looks delicious Norma. I can almost taste it from here! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a picture of sunchoke before and I’m amazed how much it looks like ginger. That’s what I thought it was before I got to that paragraph. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you have a great week!

  10. Love this stir-fry recipe Norma! Delicious!

  11. hotlyspiced says:

    That would have been a delicious stir-fry, Norma, and I love the look of your Jerusalem artichokes. It’s amazing how you’re still harvesting during such freezing conditions xx

  12. I love stir-fries like this, flavoured simply with chicken stock. How fabulous that you’re still getting leafy greens this late in the season, Norma! x

  13. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never had a sun choke. I’ll have to rectify that soon!

  14. That sounds awesome – I have been craving shrimp and Gai Lan is one of my favorite greens! i need to make this. Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. wow, i love artichoke root on my salad or steamed dimsum filling,
    loving its crisp and sweet flavour, beside it’s less calories than any starchy root……
    lucky you Norma!

  16. What a lovely recipe, I can only imagine the flavor would be outstanding with everything fresh from your garden. I have never tasted a sunchoke and wasn’t even sure what they were. Your other post explained more for me. I would love to taste on now, but would be so careful, no one wants a tummy ache. I wonder if your body can get used to them over time?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Barbara,
      I don’t know. One of my garden friend can eat it once a week but no more, I can eat it everyday and no problem. It is extremely easy to grow yet difficult to find in the food market and also is pricey, go figure.

  17. ChgoJohn says:

    Your posts always fascinate me, Norma. I knew nothing about sunchokes causing stomach distress and storing them over the winter in your garage is a great idea. On to of everything else, you present us with a beautiful stir-fry. It looks so fresh and appetizing. This was another great post. 🙂

  18. Sophie33 says:

    A good harvest, dear Norma! I love Sunchokes a lot too! Yummm! Your recipe is also a winner! Yummm!

  19. mac says:

    Glad to know gai lan can take some low temp, never eaten sunchoke, how’s the texture and taste ?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      Uncooked, sunchoke is crispy with a hint of sweetness, reminds me of fresh waterchestnut. Lightly cooked, it retains it crispness and can be used as waterchestnut substitute. Cooked till soft, it taste a bit like artichoke.

  20. wok with ray says:

    I love gai lan and with oyster sauce. . . oh yes I’m in heaven. Well, figuratively. 🙂 I hope you are having a great mid-week Norma. 🙂

  21. Gai lan – I’ve never heard of it before and I thought we had every Asian green around down here. It’s probably here and I didn’t notice it. I’m off to the market!

  22. What a great harvest! I live in an apartment but I would love to start my little garden in my balcony. Is gai lan hard to grow in those window pots? Thanks

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Yi,
      These are the crops I have success growing in window boxes: gai lan, baby bok choy, shanghai bok choy, spinach, leaf lettuce, scallion and Chinese chives.
      These crops will grow well in larger containers (18-inch diameter and only one plant to a container): Ping tung Chinese eggplant, peppers and sweet potatoes.
      The secret to success is proper spacing, frequent watering and fertilizing.
      Write again if you need more help.

  23. cquek says:

    We love the gai lan green vegetable in garlic sauce.

  24. I love stir fry! I made your asparagus and shrimp dish, which was delicious, so I know this is too!!

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