Chinese Lettuce (唐生菜)
This ancient vegetable is a firm favourite throughout the world, an originated from the time of the Ancient Egyptians. This annual plant of the family Asteraceae, has around 100 species, but are best known in the form of the common lettuce. However, lettuces come in all various sizes, colours and flavours; and below are the main types.
The first variety of lettuce produces a well formed sphere shape, and is tightly-packed. This variety, also known as the ‘Crisphead lettuce’, can be very large and has pale green leaves. Overall, the flavor of the leaves are mild, but the leaves are crispy and succulent. The second type is most commonly known as the ‘Romaine lettuce’, which is oblong in shape, and has a sweet flavor. This lettuce grows sturdy leaves, and is often the classic choice for adding into the traditional Caesar salads. The third type is sometimes known as the ‘Butterhead lettuce’. It is loose-leafed, small and has a buttery-texture, with the leaves being pale green and sometimes pale yellow. The flavor of this particular lettuce is sweet and tender. Therefore, it is clear that the lettuce family is rather big! With a wide range of different types.
A local type of lettuce within South China is known as ‘fu muk choi’ or in English ‘Bitter Vegetable’. This particular type of lettuce is well known in rural villages, and the leaves are often large and wide. They are normally used within stir-fries, but they can be eaten raw with the leaves offering a crunchy texture.
Lettuce are recognized for their great health benefits. In fact, due to its low calories or around 18 kcal per 100g, this vegetable a perfect addition to anyone wanting to lose weight and stay healthy. Lettuce is also a good source of various minerals, such as potassium and vitamins A and K.
To prepare lettuce, which is necessary as to ensure the removal of any unwanted dirt, wash the leaves carefully under cold water and drain. Then, you can dry off any excess water if desired and get ready to cook! Overall, the taste of lettuces ar equite mild, yet their texture are normally crisp and moist (if fresh). One of the main uses for lettuce today is within various salads. Lettuce can thus be eaten raw (must be prepared correctly though!), and they can cooked. They are often included within soups. In comparison to the Western traditional ways of cooking and eating lettuce, more generally in China lettuces are eaten once cooked. Within traditional Chinese cuisine, you can find lettuce within various meals such as stir-fries, meat dishes and soups. One of the countries favourite ways of eating this vegetable is through steaming it.