Top seven Asian fruits and veggies for kids. Nom Nom.
Here is a guide of what they are and how to eat them. Let us know which ones were a hit and which ones were a miss with your family!
Litchi: I'll start with our favorite Asian fruit. Litchi is juicy, sweet and delicate. In texture they resemble grapes, but with a more subtle taste. Winter time is the ideal time to sample fresh litchis. Fresh litchis need to be peeled (not too hard) and de-seeded. Litchis can also be purchased peeled and seeded in a can. This also might be much easier to find!
We enjoy litchis just as they are - fresh. However, my kids also love when I make little litchi jellies (simply cut up litchis and cover them with jello). Or if you're feeling adventurous, here is a nice no-cooking-required recipe for Coconut and Litchi Pudding.
Snow Peas: You probably came across these beauties at a Chinese restaurant, where they are frequently used in a variety of dishes. Snow peas are great for kids because they are sweet, crunchy (when raw) and full of good nutrients. Did you know that they have about double the amount of calcium than green peas? And they are PACKED with Vitamin C. I love to use them raw in a packed lunch (especially with a Peanut Butter Dip). But for dinner this is a great recipe to try: Sesame Chicken With Snow Peas.
Kumquats: You might have seen these cute little oranges on Pinterest or at your market. And kumquats are just that, tiny little oranges. What makes them special is that they are fully edible. The peel is actually the sweet part and it is filled with good for you antioxidants and essential oils. The pulp is more tart, creating a nice balance. Personally I like them. My kids don’t. But I did get them to try one (well, they were super excited to eat them because they look so cute!). So why don’t you give it a try and let us know what you think.
I also like using kumquats in cooking, especially with poultry. I just might try this Martha Stewart’s recipe, Grilled Chicken with Kumquat-Lemongrass Dressing, as I have a bag of fresh kumquats at home right now!
Chinese Long Beans: Long beans are native to Southeast Asia. They are not easy to find. But I would check your local Asian grocer to see if they stock them. Long beans are just fun. Taste wise they resemble beans (which they obviously are). But if you have a bean-avoider at home, you might be surprised that they just might eat the entire Snake Bean (another name for this legume). They're like a long noodle. Seriously fun to eat!
I usually blanch or stir fry them. This is a recipe that I can do over and over again - as it tastes good hot and cold for lunch: Stir Fried Garlic Chinese Long Beans.
Baby Corn: If you happen to be at your Asian grocer, make sure to pick up some fresh baby corn. What is more fun for kids? They are sweet and crunchy. Perfect little surprise to send in your child’s Yumbox. Baby corn is just that - a corn that was picked just after it has formed and before it has matured. They are also great steamed or as part of a veggie stir fry. This is a nice vegetarian recipe for kids: Easy Baby Corn Stir Fry
Pomegranates: This is definitely a fruit my kids really look forward to each winter. Fresh pomegranate seeds are addictive. Good thing they are so healthy for you! Pomegranates are wonderful fresh. And just so pretty. The seeds are relatively easy to take out. But I definitely would definitely only send pomegranate seeds in your child’s lunchbox. Otherwise they might end up with few stains. So many ways to enjoy this amazing fruit. Buzzfeed has (27 Recipe Suggestions)[http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/pretty-ways-to-eat-pomegranate-seeds].
Napa Cabbage: This is a staple in our kitchen. Chinese cabbage is lighter and more subtle in taste than regular cabbage. It is also quite versatile and lends itself well to stir fries, steaming and even as lettuce replacement. We love the crunch of raw napa cabbage. She Knows blog has a series of great suggestions on how to prepare this veggie. And of course check out our recipe for Kimchi. Great way to reuse any napa cabbage leftovers.