What’s to buy right now at the wet market? We’ll be featuring a different seasonal ingredient and recipe in each of our Market Watch columns. Without further ado:
Cauliflower 椰菜花 yeh4 choy3 fah1 commonly features in western recipes, but did you know that it also stars heavily on the dining tables in Guangdong homes? It’s often a go-to for making meat stir-frys, mostly for its lower price and abundance throughout the year. While cauliflower isn’t indigenous to Guangdong, it was introduced to Taishan county in Guangdong province by Chinese who worked abroad in the early 19th century, and later spread throughout the region.
“Cauliflower is all about the crunch,” wet market vendor Sister Three tells us. “You cannot throw out the stems.” Instead of chopping the stems off entirely, only remove the toughest part at the bottom, keeping the majority of the stems. Cut the cauliflower head into long and narrow strips. Each piece should have a couple florets and stem attached, which helps the vegetable keeps its firm texture even after high-heat wok-frying.
Finding a fresh and good quality cauliflower gets half the job done. Look for firm and compact florets and a delicate pale green color. Any dark spots or brown coloring indicates possible spoilage and should be avoided.
The most common cauliflower dish in Hong Kong homes is likely beef and cauliflower stir-fry 椰菜花炒牛肉 yeh4 choy3 fah1 chao2 ngau4 yook6, but Sister Three has a more exciting recipe to recommend: vegan cauliflower stir-fry with fermented bean curd 腐乳炒椰菜花 foo6 yu5 chao2 yeh4 choy3 fah1. Not only is it great with rice and congee, it’s also a vegetarian dish!
What you’ll need:
三妹菜檔 sahm1 mui6 choy3 dawng3 “Sister Three Vegetable Stall”
Stall 43, Shui Wo Street Wet Market, Kwun Tong.