Yu choy, also called yu choy sum or green choy sum, is a vegetable with dark green oval leaves, lighter green stalks and little yellow flowers. When cooked, it has a texture that's more resilient than spinach (and without that nasty, toothache-inducing oxalic acid quality about it), but not as dense (and time-consuming to cook) as collards. There's a similar type of green just called choy sum that has white stalks and is a little more cabbage-y. They're both different from Chinese broccoli, which has denser stalks, tougher leaves, and more flowers, and takes a lot longer to cook. Anyway, all of these are pretty tasty.

I first bought yu choy at the Shop'n'Save, where it was stashed almost out of view in the Oriental veggies case, but I'd seen it around Chinatown for ages, and was too shy to ask the vendors what to do with it. Since I can now buy it and keep my anonymity, it's become one of my absolutely favorite vegetables. In five minutes you can turn a bunch of yu choy into an excellent side dish of dark, leafy greens, and you will probably want more than your food pyramid dictated half-cup serving of veggies. You can stir-fry it with garlic and soy sauce and serve it alone, or you can add it to other dishes as an adjunct. I've even seen a few recipes that use it raw. It costs $1.99/lb, and it takes a lot of yu choy to make a pound -- a 1-pound bunch is probably the size of your head. It cooks down a lot, so that 1-pound bunch will probably yield about four decent-sized servings.

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