Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is this the Spinach that Popeye the Sailor eats?

While it is perfectly true that this shining green vegetable with ribbed white veins leaves and stems that range from white to yellow and red has a string of names to confuse you, it is full of vitamins and minerals and therefore extremely good for you. Siverbeet also known as Swiss chard, Seakale beet, Crab beet, Perpetual Spinach, Spinach beet and Mangold are available in the green groceries and supermarkets all year round.To add to your confusion, silverbeet is often called spinach in New South Wales and Queensland. Although they are both from the same plant family - Amaranthaceae, they are very different in texture and taste. Unlike the spinach which has a refined and more delicate flavour, it has an earthy flavour (especially in the stalks which I normally discard in my cooking). Interestingly, in Australia, the leaves are valued while the Mediterranean and European cooks value the stalks. In fact, the leaves are often discard and used as a folder. If you are doing a sustainable gardening in your space-poor backyard you will find that it is not called "perpetual spinach" without a good reason. The leaves can be picked or cut continuously over time, is a far better option than "once off " crops. Thus the continuous harvest of this vegetable plant ensures your family with a steady supply of folate, fibre and vitamins and saves you money and time. Here is a simple silverbeet dish with a Chinese twist.

Sherried Silverbeet with Garlic and Oyster Sauce:

1 bunch silverbeet
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry or rice wine
1 tsp sugar
1 chicken stock cube
2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cornflour
Salt and Pepper

Wash silverbeet, shake off excess water and remove leaves from stalk and cut leaves into 5cm slices. Heat wok high heat and add oil, add garlic and saute until golden brown. Add silverbeet leaves and toss until wilted.
Combine water with crumbled stock cube, soya sauce, oyster sauce, dry sherry and cornflour, mix well and pour into silverbeet and toss until mixture is boiling.Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment