What Is Hakusai, The Napa Cabbage India Couldn’t Stop Googling? Recipes Inside!

by Mallika Khurana
What Is Hakusai, The Napa Cabbage India Couldn’t Stop Googling? Recipes Inside!

It is common to look back on the events that had an influence, the narratives that spoke to us, as well as the patterns that piqued our interest as the year ended. Digital footprints are a powerful tool for tracking our changing interests, so it was interesting to see how popular Hakusai became in India over the previous year despite the country’s abundance of searches and discoveries. Amidst a myriad of trending topics, this unassuming vegetable, also known as Napa cabbage, claimed its place among the most sought-after things on the virtual canvas of Google searches.

Hakusai Takes Over Google Searches In 2023

Napa cabbage
Photo Credits: Canva

In a year marked by exploration and discovery, this unheralded vegetable became a symbol of cross-cultural intrigue, transcending borders to find a place in Indian kitchens and conversations. It is a leafy vegetable belonging to the Brassica rapa species. It’s characterised by its oblong shape, tightly packed, crinkled pale green leaves, and white stalk. This vegetable is a staple in East Asian cuisines, particularly in Japan and China, where it’s used in a variety of dishes due to its mild, slightly sweet flavour and crunchy texture.

In 2023, Hakusai gained significant attention in India as a notable search trend on Google. The reasons behind this surge in interest could be attributed to various factors, such as increased awareness about diverse cuisines, health-conscious choices, or the exploration of international recipes.

In Japan, hakusai is a key ingredient in numerous traditional dishes like sukiyaki, hot pot dishes, stir-fries, and soups. It’s prized for its versatility and ability to absorb flavours while retaining a pleasant crunch when cooked lightly. In Japanese cuisine, it’s also used to add depth to broths, as a filling in dumplings or spring rolls, or as a pickled side dish known as “tsukemono.”

Tips, Tricks, And Delectable Dishes Await You

Photo Credits: Canva

When incorporating Hakusai into Indian cuisine, there are several ways to utilise its unique qualities. Here are some methods:

  • Stir-fries

Include hakusai in stir-fry dishes along with other vegetables, tofu, or meat. Its texture holds up well to high heat and also absorbs flavours beautifully.

  • Soups and broths

Add sliced or shredded hakusai to soups or broth-based dishes for an extra layer of flavour and nutrients.

  • Pickling

Explore pickling techniques to create Hakusai-based pickles or fermented dishes that can also serve as flavourful accompaniments to Indian meals.

  • Salads

Use hakusai in salads for its crunchy texture. It pairs well with a variety of dressings and other salad ingredients.

  • Wraps and rolls

Incorporate Hakusai leaves as wrappers for fillings, similar to how cabbage leaves are used in cabbage rolls.

  • Curries and stews

Experiment by adding hakusai to curries or stews, allowing it to absorb the flavours while providing a contrasting texture.

Pro tip: When preparing hakusai, ensure thorough washing, especially between the leaves, to remove any dirt or debris. It’s versatile and can also be used in various culinary applications, allowing for creativity in the kitchen.

Whether it’s exploring new tastes or incorporating diverse ingredients into familiar cuisines, the trend of searching for hakusai in India reflects an evolving interest in global gastronomy and experimentation with different flavours and ingredients.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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