Sai Sai Radish Leaves
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Sai Sai radish has small scalloped leaves growing in opposing pairs up a reddish-purple stem with one large leaf at the top. The leaves can grow between 15 to 30 centimeters. Sai Sai radish leaves have a crunchy texture and a hot, peppery taste reminiscent of the radish root or mustard greens.
Sai Sai radish leaves are available year-round.
Sai Sai radish leaves are botanically known as Raphanus sativus, a member of the Brassicaceae family valued for its taproot. In parts of Asia, the green tops are valued for their use in soups and stir-fries, or as a garnish.
Sai Sai radish leaves contain calcium, vitamin C, iron and phosphorus. They are a good source of fiber. The leaves are said to be more nutrient dense than the root.
Sai Sai radish leaves can be steamed, sauteed, str-fried and used as a salad green. Sai Sai radish leaves are used as a general green vegetable in curries, dals or as a topping for soups. The leaves can also be pickled or used to make hot, pickled kimchi. Try Sai Sai radish leaves in smoothies, salads and even pesto. Sai Sai radish leaves pair well with anchovies, chicken, pork and beef. Store Sai Sai radish leaves in the crisper drawer for up to three to five days.
Sai Sai radish leaves is popular in Asian cooking. The leaves are rarely found in restaurant dishes but rather grown in gardens for home cooking. In India, Sai Sai radish leaves are known as Mullangi Keerai (Tamil) or Mooli leaves (Hindi). In traditional Chinese medicine, Sai Sai radish leaves are used to help with circulation and digestion. Sai Sai radish leaves are said to be good for chest congestion, and for helping with liver and circulatory problems. They are classified in Chinese medicine as spicy and warming.
The origins of the radish are unknown but is said to have originated in the Mediterranean. It was documented in Egypt around 2000 BC as an important food source before it was taken to China in 500 BC and Japan in 700 AD. Radishes have since been cultivated to suit different climates resulting in many hybrids and cultivars. Radish leaves are predominately used in southeast Asia however, they are slowly starting to make an appearance in the United States.