The popularity of Asian cuisine is changing the lineup in American kitchens. Ingredients like tofu, miso and curry that were once hard to find, have become staples in pantries and regulars on supermarket shelves. Asian vegetables—nutritious and delicious—however, remain largely untapped. Asian cucumbers, eggplants and radishes offer just enough twist to familiar domestic varieties, while the strangely misshapen taro root and galangal taste as novel and foreign as they look. Unlocking this world of vegetables promises to jazz up your cooking with flavor and health benefits.
While supermarkets are broadening their selection of Asian vegetables, Asian markets, farmers markets and seed catalogs are often the best sources. The produce section of Asian markets is vast, accommodating many types of vegetables, like unu-sual varieties of leafy greens and mushrooms. Choose a few interesting items and either ask for cooking suggestions at the store or do an online search at home. For even more variety, grab a seed catalog and sow a little vegetable flair—Chinese broccoli, kohlrabi, daikon, edamame—Asian style, into the garden.