Vegetables – A to Z


Asparagus is loved for its versatility, unique flavour, distinctive shape and health giving properties. Asparagus is surprisingly quick and easy to prepare and makes everyday family meals special. This post includes helpful information for selecting, storing, preparing and cooking asparagus.

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The fruit is not sweet, but rich, and distinctly yet subtly flavoured, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used in both savoury and sweet dishes, though in many countries not for both. The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, as substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content.

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Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable. The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to “the flowering top of a cabbage”. Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors d’œuvre trays.

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Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai lan or Chinese broccoli. It is sweeter than broccoli and the delicate stalks do not need to be peeled. It is also called baby broccoli or asparation.

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Cassava, also called yuca, mogo, manioc, mandioca, tapioca and kamoting kahoy, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy, tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates.

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Cavolo Nero

A loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany, Italy. The leaves are a very dark green, almost black, hence its name, which translates as black cabbage. It has a pleasantly tangy, bitter flavour, with a sweet aftertaste.

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Chile de árbol

The Chile de árbol (Spanish for tree chilli) is a small and potent Mexican chilli pepper also known as bird’s beak chilli and rat’s tail chilli. These chillies are about 5 to 7.6 cm long, and 0.65 to 0.95 cm in diameter.

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Chinese Broccoli

Chinese broccoli is also known as gai lan. It has thin, pale-green coloured stems, with crisp dark blue-green leaves and small white flowers. Both the stems and the leaves are eaten. Chinese broccoli has a crisp texture and a mild, slightly bittersweet flavour.

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Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage can refer to two groups of Chinese leaf vegetables often used in Chinese cuisine: the Pekinensis Group (napa cabbage) and the Chinensis Group (bok choy).

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Crotalaria longirostrata, the chipilín, is a perennial legume that is native to Mexico and Central America. Other common names include chepil, chepilin, and longbeak rattlebox.

Chipilín leaves are a common leafy vegetable in the local cuisines of southern Mexico, including Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Tabasco, and Central America, especially El Salvador and Guatemala. The leaves are …

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In the most common variety, the fruit is roughly pear-shaped, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length. It looks like a green pear, and it has a thin, green skin fused with the green to white flesh, and a single, large, flattened pit.

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Choy Sum (Chinese flowering cabbage)

  • Choy sum is a flowering Asian green, closely related to bok choy. It has crunchy green stems topped with wide, flat leaves. The yellow flowers are edible and have a mustard-like flavour and bite. Choy sum is delicious in soups, but is most commonly stir-fried as a side dish.
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    Daikon (from Japanese 大根, literally “large root”), also called White Radish, Japanese radish, Oriental radish, Chinese radish, lo bok and Mooli (from Hindi/Urdu Muulii), is a mild flavoured, very large, white East Asian radish.

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    Melanzane alla Parmigiana

    The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavour. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit (known as degorging), to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness of the earlier cultivars. Some modern varieties – including large, purple varieties commonly imported into western Europe – do not need this treatment.

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    Index – Vegetables

    There are a number of vegetables used in our recipes or referenced in our world cuisine pages. This is the sub-index for the vegetables that we have listed in the glossary. Included are information, availability, substitutions, and nutrition, wherever possible.

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