Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yu Choy Dal/Pappu

On my way out of the Oriental Store last week my eyes fell on the counter and I saw a bunch beautiful green leafy vegetable stalks that had tiny yellow flowers. I asked the person-in-charge what the green was and she said it was "Yu Choy". I asked her if she knew how the vegetable tasted. She said it tasted like spinach and offered me some to try. I tasted it and I felt like it tasted like spinach too :).

For a green leafy vegetable deprived Indian here in the US, I jumped at the opportunity. I bought half a pound of it. When I came home, I googled the name and found a TON of references to it. I learnt that Yu Choy is edible rape and it is widely used in Chinese cooking. It is used to make soups and also used in stir fries. That is all I needed to know make "Yu Choy Dal" out of it. I basically plucked the leaves from the stalks and roughly chopped them up. I did not have the hearts to throw away the stalks so I just ziplocked them and put them back in the fridge. I am thinking about throwing them into some soup.

Now coming to the dal, I did spice the dal up a bit than I usually do by adding cloves + cinnamon + elaichi powder, a tsp of coriander powder, a tbsp of ginger. When the dal was cooking, it eminated a lot of fragrance than when I cook a regular spinach dal. It was hard for me to figure out if it was because of the additional spices I added or just the Yu Choy itself smelled so good. But whatever was the case, it just made it really hard to wait for it to finish cooking. I had to release the pressure for the cooker manually just so I could get my hands on the dal. And I should mention that this is a very easy recipe to make.

On to the recipe now

Cooking the dal

  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 1/2 lb Yu Choy with stalks, leaves plucked and chopped. Roughly 2 cups of packed, chopped Yu Choy leaves
  • 1 medium onion, coarsley chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 Indian green chilis, split in half
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp (cloves + cinnamon + caradamom) powder (optional)
  • salt to taste

Pressure cooker

Put all the above ingredients in a pressure cooker and add about 4 cups of water and pressure cook until 3 whistles.

For tempering/tadka

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 broken red chili pieces
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, chopped in half
Small cast iron skillet/tempering pan or smallest sauce pan available

Put the oil in a pan on medium-high heat, add all the ingredients in the order listed. Take off from heat after the mustard and jeera seeds splutter.

Add the tempering to the dal above, garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serving Suggestion: This goes really well with chapathi or rice.

This is also my entry to Sweetnick's ARF/5-a-day Tuesday this week!


Lakshmi said...

This one is new for me, a good one.

wheresmymind said...

Edible rape?? That sounds like a bad headline from the National Inquirer ;)

Luv2cook said...


It tasted kinda like spinach so do try it!


:))..very funny :-p

Santhi said...

hmmmm dont remember seeing this.
may be I did not pay attention..

Dal looks veru similar to spinach dal..

KrishnaArjuna said...

Looks delicious, I have tried a bunch of greens from chinese stores and this is one of them.

Ashwini said...

asparagus poriyal, yu choy dal...man you are creative!

Diane said...

I love Yu Choi and buy it all the time. The stalks are yummy too, but take a lot longer to cook than the leaves.

Asian markets have lots of great vegies. I like it in summer when amaranth is available - you never see it in Western markets.

Recipe looks great!

Garam Masala said...

Now here's a lady with an open mind when it comes to food!
You are brave enough to try new things and work with the tools you have.
Nicely done!

Sumi said...

another new greens variety to try..
have you tried turnip greens , collard greens and mustard greens those too are great for dhal, stir fry and kootu.
good find, i will look for 'yu choy' the next time Iam grocery shopping

Puspha said...

This is mustard leaf/green. Used a lot in chinese cooking, especially when cooking noodles.
Choose the ones that has no flowers. Young, flowerless leaf tastes better.
My mom used to cook it exactly as how u have done it. Goes great with fried fish or fish sambal.

Luv2cook said...


I don't remember seeing it before in the store either. It may have been just my eyes.


I am now on the look out for more greens at the Oriental store.


Thanks! I get bored with regular stuff realllyyyy easy, so am looking for change all the time :).


Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I am definitely going to use up the stalks in some way or the other! It is very sad because our store doesn't get Amarnath at all :(


Thanks! I am very lucky to have someone that tries everything I make without any complains. So that makes it a lot easier, I think :)


I have had collard and mustard but not turnip. Need to try that!


Thanks for the tip. I kind of knew in the back of my mind that I should not choose the yellow flowered stalks but I couldn't pass up the beautiful looking flowers. I had to throw a couple of stalks in :).

Linda said...

A small grocery nearby sells all sorts of asian goods including fresh veggies. I have seen this before but did not know what it was -- will definitely try now. Looks delicious!

Thanks for visiting my blog - I've added your link :)

Saffron said...

L2C, that looks lovely. I'll have to look out for this vegetable in the stores.


Lera said...

seems Interesting ...

Babble said...

Looks mustard to me...
Makki Roti-Saag is divine :D

Anonymous said...

I made it today in the evening and it was spicy as per indian style. I had eaten with rice and work out pretty good. Thanks.