Cuisine Gardens

Saturday, 20 April 2013 09:28

A cuisine garden is a group of vegetables and herbs grown together as ingredients for ethnic recipes. Growing in individual raised beds makes the perfect setting for a collection of world cuisines. I meet cooks from many cultural backgrounds and am always jotting down new ideas for recipes that I am translating into gardens. Since we have not reached the last frost date it’s a good time to plant cool crops. What better than a spring Asian cuisine garden?

These gardens can be started as early as you can get the soil worked. If you are a little late getting started, try cool weather varieties that can tolerate warming conditions; such as Mei Qin Shoi, a baby Bok Choy that has a good tolerance to bolting. Snow peas can begin to be planted in March. The bush types are easy to grow in raised beds and produce pods sooner. Hybrid Michihli Chinese Cabbage types are also slower to bolt. Japanese Daikon radishes are much more tolerant to heat than red salad types. Now is the perfect time to sow bunching onions or scallions. has a very good selection of “Chinese and Oriental Vegetables.”

RECIPE: Stir-fried Vegetables with Ginger

Serves 4 – 6

2 – 2 ½ lbs. mixed Asian vegetables

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. peanut oil (or less)

1 inch fresh ginger root peeled and grated

1 hot chili (optional)


2 tsp. dark soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup chicken stock

2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. of the above stock

1 tsp. five spice powder

Heat a wok or large skillet and add the oil, hot pepper and ginger for 1 minute. Add the vegetables that have cut into bite size pieces. Stir-fry until tender crisp and remove to plate. Add the sauce ingredients and quickly cook until it thickens. Add back the vegetables. Coat and heat through. A drizzle of sesame oil and fresh ground black pepper can top the dish.

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