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My New Leafy Green Love: Tah-Tsai

October 27, 2010

Hello there dear readers,

Instead of the usual Wordless Wednesday post, I have a new produce discovery to share with all of you.  It was an epic find.

It’s name?  Tah-Tsai.

It was Owner Appreciation weekend at the Willy Street Co-op and my honey was cutting cake outside the store with other members of the Board of Directors.  To celebrate all of us fabulous shoppers, the Co-op had some AMAZING sales throughout the store. I bee-lined to the produce section, and there it was. The vegetable I never knew I was missing.  The leafy green of my dreams. The busty beauty of the cooler aisle. Locally grown Tah-Tsai in all its glory.

The first Tah-Tsai (also known as Tatsoi) I selected fit nicely into my little cart. Then I saw it… hidden under a couple of other smaller Tah-Tsai was The One. The Mount Everest of Tah-Tsai.  The Pacific Ocean of vegetables. The Blue Whale of leafy greens.

In short, it was HUGE.

(View of my metro cart with Tah-Tsai in it. Yes, it was really that big. And yes, I do bring my camera grocery shopping sometimes.)


Guess how much this sucker set me back? $1.69.


I was so excited about my incredible, beautiful and cost effective find that I ran outside to show Emily (and anyone else who would stop to listen to my babbling).  Did I get strange looks? Yes.  But were people  excited by the armful of green deliciousness I was displaying?  Absolutely. I bet I increased the number of Tah-Tsais eaten that weekend astronomically. I should really be the Tah-Tsai avenger, spreading bunches of health and goodness to the masses, undermining the SAD (Standard American Diet) all over the place.

For the time being, I’ll settle for being a super-fan.

What to do with such a wealth of food?  First of all, know that (much like Swiss Chard), Tah-Tsai requires thorough washing before you eat it.  The stems are also edible, like Bok Choy or Swiss Chard, but tend to have even more dirt/grit than the leaves. I chopped and than soaked mine for about 5 minutes in a bowl of cold water, which not only loosened or dissolved much of the dirt clinging to the stems and leaves, but also perked the leaves up. Drain the water in the bowl, rinse the leaves and stems one more time, and you’ll be all set.

Here are a few suggested uses for Tah-Tsai. It’s a very versatile green, since the leaves aren’t tough (like kale can be), but also aren’t wimpy (like salad greens), and the stems are delicious too.
* Chop the stems  and leaves into medium or small pieces and throw them in soups, stir fry, etc.
* Chop the greens into strips and stir them (raw) into mac n’ cheese… WHOA. This is SO GOOD.
* Chop up the greens and throw them in with your salad.
* Saute with onions and garlic and put an egg on top. Egg+ dark leafy green tah-tsai + local salsa = 100% localvore friendly and super charged breakfast.
* Cook chopped stems and leaves in your favorite cooking oil and garlic, plus onions/green onions, garlic, soy sauce and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Put in soft corn tortilla with a cheese of your choice and rejoice in what you’ve just done for yourself.

Note: I recommend cooking the stems for a minute or two before adding the greens. That way everything gets done at the same time, and you don’t get stuck with overcooked greens. 🙂

Now, get out there and find yourself some Tah-Tsai!  If you live in Madison, WI like I do, you can find them at the Willy Street Co-op, or buy them directly from Tipi Produce.  Happily, in addition to being tasty, dark leafy greens are full of calcium, fiber and lots of other good stuff.  Read more about how awesome they are here, here or here.

Even kitties love Tah-Tsai.

Happy Wednesday everyone!



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Robbie Kilinski permalink
    November 6, 2010 7:20 am

    Tah- Tsai looks wonderful! your cooking suggestions and glorious photos make me want to got to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market to see if they carry it. What a find!

  2. Maria Bashford permalink
    October 8, 2012 6:58 pm

    I planted some TahTsai at the end of winter and now enjoy it every day as part of an asian salad, together with some rocket leaves and a small can of tuna. Yum!

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