Cooking Swiss chard in Hong Kong

I first heard of Swiss chard when looking up juicing recipes, but never seemed to come across it in Hong Kong. Little did I know that they were available at Island East Markets, where I snapped up a gorgeous bunch of plain and rainbow-coloured chard (for just ~HK$25 a bunch, if I recall correctly!).

Rainbow Chard
Rainbow chard!

A relative to the beetroot and quinoa, Swiss chard is a large, leafy vegetable that’s normally used in Mediterranean cooking. It’s alsos considered to be the second healthiest vegetable after spinach, being:

  • very low in calories (19 kcal per 100 grams, raw)
  • excellent source of antioxidants and vitamin C (33% of recommended levels per 100 grams)
  • rich in Vitamin K (7x the recommended intake per 100 grams) to support bone health and prevent brain disease
  • high in omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus

(Source: swiss-chard)

Swiss chard leaves need to be washed thoroughly to get rid of dirt. They can taste quite bitter raw so it’s recommended to cook, braise or sautee it — however, this does destroy some of the antioxidants so it’s best to eat it in a salad raw or juice it.

Washing Swiss Chard
Look at that colour!

For me, I first separated the leaves from the stalks, and cut up the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Unlike spinach, they don’t shrink as much once cooked, so make sure you don’t cut them up too big. Next, I heated up some oil in a pan and sauteed them with garlic (and ate it with some salmon and quinoa salad).

Swiss Chard sauteed
Excuse the blurriness…

Taste-wise, the chard was quite firm and nutty with a texture that was a bit like eating old kai-lan (Chinese kale), but in a good way. As for the stalks, I used them in a carrot-apple-beet-swiss chard stalk juice the next day in my Kuvings slow juicer. 🙂

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