In the plant world, cruciferous vegetables are among the most beneficial to humans. They are packed with glucosinolates, compounds that are currently being studied for cancer-fighting abilities, among other great features.
The problem with glucosinolates is that they tend to disappear when the veggies are cooked. Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and other members of the cruciferous family can lose more than 80% of these compounds when the vegetables are boiled.
Scientists have been trying to find another way for humans to be able to cook these vegetables and still maintain a decent level of glucosinolates. In a new study, it looks like an answer has been found. Stir-fry. Well, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, and Bok Choy anyway.
A team of researchers at Wageningen University and Research wanted to determine whether glucosinolates in two different cruciferous vegetables and their beneficial properties could be preserved when they undergo the process of stir-frying. The research team used Chinese cabbage and bok choy in conducting their study. They removed the stems and chopped the leaves into one- to two-centimeter strips. After that, they stir-fried them in sunflower oil. They used pan temperatures ranging from 160 to 250 degrees Celsius and cooked them for a duration of one to eight minutes.
Results revealed that stir-frying the vegetables did not remove the glucosinolates content. The researchers also found that glucobrassicanapin is the most abundant form of glucosinolate in fresh Chinese cabbage and bok choy. The glucosinolates were preserved even when they were stir-fried at the highest temperatures and longest cooking times. The research team explained that such retention occurred because stir-frying inactivated myrosinase, which is a substance that breaks down glucosinolates.
Now that we know that, the big question is how to stir-fry.
To stir-fry is to quickly cook small, uniform pieces of food in a little hot oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
Clear as mud, right? Try this:
The sauce or marinade can be anything of your choice. Oils with high cooking or smoke points include unrefined coconut oil and avocado oil. (Olive oil is NOT good for high heat stir frying.) And broccoli should be added at a stage when this video puts in carrots and green beans. (And, really, a stainless steel pan works for this techniques.)