, and Congee

I saw these greens at the Mariquita Farm stand at the Farmers Market. They were beautiful. “What are these called,” I asked the clerk.


“Tatsoi, you can cook them like beet greens or use them in a salad,” she replied. I bought three and at home checked the Mariquita Farm website recipes. The only recipe listed for Tatsoi was Oriental-Flavor Cabbage Slaw (with Tat soi) from the Greens Cookbook, a regular slaw with a Tatsoi garnish. Not appealing to me, for such a beautiful green.

Googleing “tatsoi” I found mainly salads and a bunch of uninteresting stir frys. Most references that came up on the first page were seed or gardening sites.

The Kitchen Dictionary website, had a pretty good description,

tatsoi, pronounced: that SOY

A dark green Asian salad green that has a spoon like shape, a pleasant and sweet aroma flavor like a mild mustard flavor, similar to bok choi. Tatsoi is generally eaten raw, but may be added to soups at the end of the cooking period. When tatsoi is mixed with other greens it enhances the flavor and nutritional value. Tatsoi may not be available in your regular grocery store. Specialty markets may carry it, or it can be grown from seeds, in warmer climates.

Google also found a few mentions of Rice Congee, where tatsoi is used as a garnish.

I haven’t had Congee for quite a while, so I messed around, searching out recipes for Rice Congee. This is what Times Online had to say:

Times Online January 03, 2005
Chinese rice congee
by Jill Dupleix
Comfort food as soft as velvet, CONGEE is a creamy, thick Cantonese soup of rice and water, cooked with chicken or pork and served with salted peanuts and coriander. It is a gruel, or rice porridge, and it is utterly sweet, fragrant, and delicious — although I fully understand if only about a quarter of you who started reading this column are actually still with us.

Congee is my version of comfort food, a gentle panacea for too much good living. I make it the day after I land back in the country after a long-haul flight, for a stomach that doesn’t know what time it is but suspects it is being forced to have dinner at 3am.

Congee is the easiest thing in the world to make if you have some rice, water and a couple of hours for it all to simmer away into a velvety, fragrant soup. Often I will buy a whole chicken, remove the breasts to use for another meal, then cook the remaining carcass with the rice, shredding the meat from the wings and legs back into the rice to serve.

Sounded great, but I decided to go with the simplest possible Congee and highlight the Tatsoi.


As I was cleaning (tatsoi has lots of little layers where dirt can hide), I ate a leaf, good, tender, with a nice clean, dark green flavor, befitting its looks. I decided I would use the tatsoi both as a vegetable in the soup and as a raw garnish.


Congee is way easy, 1/2 cup long grain rice to 7 cups beef or chicken stock. Boil for 15 minutes, then cook, partially covered (use chopsticks to hold your lid just above the rim of the pot), on low heat for an hour more. Don’t stir! I threw in a bunch of whole Totsoi leaves with about 20 minutes to go.

congee_greens.jpg congee.jpg

Use soup bowls for serving. In each, put some cilantro, some ginger shreds, some thinly sliced scallions and a chiffonade of tatsoi leaves. (To chiffonade, roll the leaves and slice thin across the roll.)

Ladle the soup over the fresh seasonings. As condiments, offer soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil, and hot sauce.

That was really good for Sunday lunch. Now I’ve found a new green vegetable and re-acquainted myself with congee. That’s a good day.


I liked that so much, that I got tatsoi again the next Saturday. This time, I poached a salmon fillet, made a Vodka sauce and plopped that on a bed of tatsoi leaves. Yum.

I love it! Stay tuned for the next iteration.

2 thoughts on “Tatsoi

  1. Over here we pronounce Tatsoi “tot-SOY” and it is one of my favorite salad greens because it has a mellow but substantial brassica flavor and a nice texture, plus the leaves are cute. You actually asked about it in my Rector post on another spoon-shaped salad green, mache.

    Those Tatsoi bunches look pretty “old” though — I always cut them when they have one or two leaves on them as part of our “cut and come back” greens patch — they instantly regrow those leaves, and you can keep doing that for a long time.

    You should try making congee the way Ms. Dupleix describes, because it will make an even better soup than just using broth alone. Especially if you can get an older hen to use (wasn’t your chicken guy offering you some of those when we visited the Ferry Building Farmers Market?) because the older the chicken the better the flavor and the tougher the meat, but they way you cook congee, it doesn’t matter how tough it is, so you get all of the flavor benefit.

    Yuet Lee is a great place to get congee — I like their version with preserved duck egg, and then I drizzle some of their pepper oil on top to kick it up a bit.


  2. Since I don’t have a “cut and come back” greens patch, I take what I can get at the Mariquita Farm stand.
    Actually, I made Ms. Dupleix’s Congee last evening for dinner, using 4 chicken thighs. I added tatsoi to the soup and used it as a base for a chopped salad. Totally wonderful, garnished with scallions, julianned ginger, sesame oil, peanuts and hot sauce.
    Marin Sun Farms only has hens once in a while, I suppose, at the end of the year (you were here in November).
    And btw, they are now carrying goat. We had a bone in goat loin last week. Nothin’ to shout about if you ask me.


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