What are Chinese Artichokes?

Perhaps you are familiar with artichoke, which is a thistle prized for it numerous health benefits and strange appearance. Stranger, however, is the vegetable called Chinese artichoke, more commonly known as crosne, betony, knotroot, Japanese artichoke, or chorogi.

What do they taste like and how best to prepare them for a family dinner?

What it looks like

Because the Chinese artichoke is a tuber, it looks similar to ginger but smoother because of the knobs or knots. The tuber is also ivory white in color and look like beads when cleaned. The vegetable is native to China and Japan but it was introduced to the rest of the world at the close of the 1800s.

It is quite expensive when purchased outside China and Japan, but it is cultivated in Europe and is used for a lot of dishes. It takes about a year to develop and can be tricky if you are planning to raise this in your garden.

What does it taste like?

Despite their looks, the Chinese artichoke is crunchy and has a nutty flavor. Some describe it as having a similar flavor to chestnuts. Chinese artichokes can be prepared in various ways by blanching, steaming, sautéing, and pickled. They can also be consumed raw as long as you rinse them under running water.

What are its benefits?

The Chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis) contain fiber, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, and folate.

What recipes can you make from it?

If you can find one in Singapore markets, you can make simple dishes from it easily.

Chinese Artichokes and Peas

Ingredients: 12 ounces trimmed Chinese artichokes, 4 ounces peas, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, white truffle oil, salt, and ground black pepper

Preparation: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook Chinese artichokes for 2 minutes, then rinse and soak in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter in a pan over medium heat and cook garlic cloves and Chinese artichokes for 2 minutes.

Season with salt then stir in peas. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and add parsley. After 1 minute, add lemon juice and black pepper then top with truffle oil.

Sauteed Crosne

Ingredients: 2 pounds rinsed Chinese artichokes, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons sea salt, ½ teaspoon fine salt, 2 tablespoons salted butter, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 lemon, and 2 tablespoons chervil

Preparation: After washing the artichokes, rub sea salt on them and let sit for a few minutes. Prepare a steamer then rinse the artichokes and arrange them on the steamer. Steam while covered for 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat and cook garlic until golden. Next, stir in steamed Chinese artichokes are butter. Season with salt and pepper then cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and chervil.