There are two things that I’ve always wanted to do
(among a checklist of a gazillion other items).
1) Visit Brussels one day.
2) Cook Brussels sprouts
Since cooking Brussels sprouts were a much easier option than flying to Brussels, I decided I would start with the easier goal. (It’s always good to go with baby steps, didn’t you know?)
How on earth do Brussels Sprouts look like?? Here’s a picture from Wikipedia:
According to Wikipedia, the Brussels sprout is a cultivar in the Gemmifera group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium and may have originated there.
Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of the anticancer compounds, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying does not result in significant loss. Brussels sprouts and other brassicas are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
The most common method of preparing Brussels sprouts for cooking begins with removal of the buds from the stalk. Any surplus stem is cut away and the surface leaves that are loosened by this cutting are peeled and discarded. Cooking methods include boiling, steaming and roasting; however, boiling results in significant loss of anticancer compounds. To ensure even cooking throughout, buds of a similar size are usually chosen. Some cooks will make a single cut or a cross in the centre of the stem to aid the penetration of heat. Overcooking them will render them grey and soft and they develop a strong flavor some dislike.
My experience with Brussels Sprouts:
Now, I’ve seen Brussels sprouts used in a couple of recipes (among which one was a recipe demonstrated during Pelusa Molina’s cooking class), and a Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Lemon recipe from Lattes and Leggings. The name of this peculiar looking vegetable is just so exotically European and tasteful, I wanted to try using these Brussels sprouts just for the heck of it, and to see how they tasted like. To be honest, I had read reviews saying that this vegetable has a uniquely strong and almost bitter taste, one not extremely popular with the crowds, and I was initially hesitant, but finally gave in to my desire to test out a new, funny-looking vegetable. This dish is pretty much an adaptation from Lattes and Leggings’ recipe, with a couple of twists – I added mushrooms and almonds because I like both ingredients, but you can always add whatever you want to your own dish.
They turned out pretty well, and the almonds and lemon juice managed to curb the strong taste of the Brussels Sprouts. Let me warn you – it’s not a dish for everyone, but if you’re like me, and are keen on trying out new vegetables and tastes, and want to increase your fiber intake (as well as prevent cancer) – try this recipe!
Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms & Almonds (Serves 4)
1) 500g of Brussels sprouts
2) 400g of fresh button mushrooms
3) 50g of dried almonds
4) 1/4 lemon (for lemon juice)
1) Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and peel off the leaves one by one
2) Slice mushrooms finely
3) Chop almonds roughly, but not too small
4) In a wok, stir-fry the mushroom slices until they turn slightly brown and cooked
5) Add in Brussels sprouts leaves and stir-fry till leaves are soft but still retain bright green colour
6) Add in lemon juice and chopped almonds
7) Serve hot as a side dish