When you cook with the seasons, not only are you using produce at its very best in terms of flavour and nutrients, you’re also getting more bang for your buck as in-season vegetables are more affordable. Our handy seasonal cooking guide reveals 10 of the best winter ingredients, including tempting Asian recipes that make the most of the winter bounty.
The cool winter months promise crisp Asian greens, such as calcium-rich kai lan (Chinese broccoli) or crunchy pak choy. Keen to get your kids to eat more greens? Your whole family will love this hoi sin stir-fry with prawns, ramen noodles and Chinese broccoli.
Other champions of the winter green scene are broccoli and broccolini. Resembling mini trees, these members of the cruciferous family are brimming with a whole alphabet of vitamins, including A, C, E and K. One of our favourite new ways to enjoy broccolini is in this Malaysian lemongrass prawn curry.
Now’s the time to make kimchi! With cabbage at its crunchiest best, follow the lead of Korea and whip up a big batch of kimchi to last all year. Once you’ve followed these five easy steps for making your own kimchi, try these Korean winter recipes, including kimchi dumplings and a warming kimchi soup.
The days are shorter during winter, so it’s a good thing that carrots are in season now so you can get a much-needed boost of beta-carotene, which helps you see in the dark. Add matchsticks of carrot to your favourite stir-fry, or try this Cantonese-inspired recipe for combination vegetables, packed with plenty of winter ingredients.
We’ve been waxing lyrical about the health benefits of ginger lately, but now there’s another reason to up your intake of this spicy rhizome. Ginger is at its finest right now, so keep an eye out for fresh young roots, rather than those gnarled old hunks that are sold during the off-season. And because most of ginger’s nutrients can be found just under the skin, a simple scrub under running water will ensure you get the most from this virtuous root. For a winter warmer, try this chicken soup with ginger and coriander.
Another flavour-packed root that’s bountiful in winter is horseradish, and its sinus-clearing Japanese cousin, wasabi. And just like ginger, wasabi is bursting with health benefits. Try the freshly grated root in a salad dressing or dipping sauce, or whip up this speedy Japanese wasabi yakiniku beef recipe.
One of the cornerstones of any stew, soup or stir-fry, leeks and onions flourish in the winter months. Make the most of the season’s sweet baby onions with this warming braise of beef with soy and star anise.
Potatoes are the most widely planted crop in the world, and they are available year round, but did you know these comforting carbs are at their finest in winter? Waxy varieties, such as Dutch Creams, kipflers and Nicolas are ideal boiled, baked and in potato salads. Floury versions, such as Coliban and King Edward are perfect for roasting or French fries. And all-rounders, such as Desiree, Pontiac and Sebago, will give you creamy mash, crispy roasties and everything in between. Choose a sauce-soaking all-rounder for this massaman beef curry.
Packed with fibre, beta-carotene and antioxidants, pumpkin is equally at home in sweet and savoury dishes. Not convinced? Take a peek at our top five delicious dishes using pumpkin, including wintry soups and an intriguing dessert.
You’ve heard us rave about sweet potatoes before (find out why they may hold the secret to a long life here) – and these robust root vegetables hit their sweet spot in winter. For an indulgent snack or dinner party starter, try sweet potato tempura (hint: it works a treat with pumpkin too).
For more winter recipes and cooking ideas, discover 10 quick and easy kimchi dishes for winter.
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