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Tokyo Bekana

Tokyo Bekana is a vegetable originating from Japan that has found its place in the cuisines across the world and in the US. It’s a part of the cabbage family and it’s often known as Chinese cabbage even though it’s mostly used in Japanese cuisine.

It’s a loose head cabbage and it’s fast to mature and easy to use in a variety of different dishes that otherwise require cabbages. They are wide at a base and curl up at the end which makes them easy to handle.

Tokyo Bekana Trivia

  • It can be harvested at any time of maturity
  • It’s one of the plant grown in the International space station
  • They are also used as microgreens.

Tokyo Bekana Buying Guide

The best way to choose this type of cabbage is to make sure that they seem to be fresh and that’s done by checking the color and the shape of the leafs. They should be green at the top and becoming more pale towards the bottom to become completely white at the end.

They can also be used as microgreens meaning that you buy them as seeds grow them on your own in a pan and harvest them when needed.

Tokyo Bekana Production & Farming in Texas

Tokyo Bekana is mostly produced in the areas where there’s an Asian community and therefore there is some production in Texas but they are mostly made in California and Florida. They are easy to produce and when they are treated as a micro green they can be made in artificial greenhouses at a fast pace.

They prefer cool season and when they are made outdoors you’ll need to sow them in the early spring or in the early fall when the temperatures are starting to lower. It may be even later than that in Texas since it’s a rather hot.

The soil needs to be well drained and especially so when you’re sowing after the last frost in order to make sure there’s enough humidity in area. The soil should also be moist and that may be a bigger expense if you need to bring the water to your plot of land.

They can be harvested at any stage depending on how big you want them to be and to whom you plan to sell them. They are mostly harvested by cutting when they are at 3-4 inches. The row distance should be somewhere at 18-30 inches.

Pesticides

There are no pesticides used for this plant when they are used as a microgreen and some may be used when they are allowed to grow more.

Geography

Tokyo Bekana was actually first produced in China and there are some varieties of cabbage still produced in China that seem to be related to it. They were brought to Japan rather late, somewhere in the 20th century. That probably happened during or after the Russo-Japanese war.

They quickly become a big part of Japanese cuisine and they moved across the globe with Japanese culinary and cultural influence. Now they are mostly grown within that community in the US, but they are gaining popularity beyond that.

Packaging

Tokyo Bekana is usually packed in plastic bags after harvesting and thus moved to the stores and kept in fridges. It needs to be used rather quickly after it’s harvested. Some also sell the seeds for it and allow the users to grow and harvest their own. This can be done in a simple pan and with some healthy soil and care.

Enjoying Tokyo Bekana

This plant is often mistaken with ordinary green salads since that’s what it looks like and that’s how they can be cooked. They can also be used as a cabbage and thus be a meat wrap if you want to have small portions. Bekana can also be a part of salads and there they are used to refresh the pallet.

They are also easy to fry and that can be done on a single pan without too much skill or preparation and it’s enough to add variety and fresh look to your dish.

Cooking

In Japan Tokyo Bekanas are often used as a wraps for meat and thus sold on the streets as a quick bite food. Here’s one such a recipe.

In a medium saucepan, pour coconut milk over chicken and bring to a simmer. Poach chicken until it is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Allow chicken to cool in poaching liquid. Remove chicken and shred. Discard poaching liquid. In a large bowl, combine chicken, shredded Tokyo Bekana, scallions, carrots, basil, and mint. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, honey, and sesame oil. Pour over vegetables and chicken.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour.  When ready to serve, lay the outer leaves of the Tokyo Bekana on the work surface. Divide filling between the leaves and roll each leaf into a bundle. Fill a pie plate with cold water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water and let soak until it just becomes pliable. Lay rice paper wrapper on work surface and lay vegetable bundle in the center. Wrap up burrito style and set aside. Continue with the remaining wrappers and vegetable bundles. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce, such as peanut sauce or ponzu.

Nutrition

Tokyo Bekana is an excellent source of fiber that can help aid in digestion and contains vitamins A, C, and K to help protect the body from environmental damage. It also contains some magnesium, calcium, iron, and folate.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 138
  • Carbs: 7g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g

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