Looking for an easy, vitamin-packed Asian green that you can grow indoors? Try Tatsoi! This bok-choy like vegetable is crisp, tender and super easy to grow hydroponically. Here’s everything you need to know about tatsoi.
Tatsoi is the new spinach.
Pronounced tat-soy, the mild mustard-y tasting vegetable has rounded leaves that look like a spoon.
The veggie originated in China, where it was grown around the Yangtze River. It’s a popular Cantonese vegetable, and commonly known as Chinese flat cabbage, spoon mustard or spinach mustard in Cantonese (塌菜).
Tatsoi has also been cultivated in Japan for many years, where it’s a popular ingredient in hot pot. In Japan, it’s known as tasai.
I first discovered tatsoi in a seed catalogue!
I was interested in growing easy lettuces and greens indoors, in my hydroponic garden, and tatsoi’s rosette like shape caught my eye. The stalks are a pale green, with dark leaves.
It grows easily, is ready for harvest in ~20 days, and can even survive under snow.
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Tatsoi Grow Guide
|Botanical Name||Brassica rapa var. rosularis or Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa|
|Common Name||Tatsoi, tat choy, spoon mustard, Chinese flat cabbage, broadbeak mustard, spinach mustard|
|Mature Size||8-10 inches tall|
|Days to Harvest||45 days from seed|
|Light||Partial to full sun|
|Soil Type||Rich, well draining soil|
|Soil pH||Neutral (6.5 – 7.0)|
|Hardiness Zones||USA Zones 4-7|
|Pests||Slugs, cabbage worms, flea beetles|
|Diseases||Clubroot, powdery mildew, downy mildew|
Sow Tatsoi in late summer or fall. It can be sown directly outdoors and even survive under snow.
Tatsoi, like most lettuces, thrives in cooler weather.
Heat can cause bolting and flowering, which will make the leaves bitter. Aim for a spring planting and another round in early fall all the way through winter.
Growing Tatsoi Hydroponically
I started growing tatsoi in my hydroponic system and found it super easy!
I usually plant 1 seed per pod, so that the tatsoi has enough room to grow outwards like a blooming flower. It sprouts very quickly, and should last anywhere from 45 to 60 days.
Keep the lights low to encourage the blooming flower shape. Otherwise, the stalks will get quite leggy
When the inner center of tatsoi starts to grow flowers, that’s when you know the green is nearing the end of its life span.
You can pick the flowers off and continue eating the tatsoi leaves, but once the leaves turn bitter the plant is done.
Save the seeds for next year’s round of planting!
Best Indoor Gardening Products to Grow Tatsoi
What to Look for When Buying Tatsoi
Tatsoi is a little tricky to buy, because it’s not stocked in regular grocery stores. But, I’ve found it at Asian grocery stores and farmer’s markets in NYC in late summer / early fall!
Look for deep glossy green leaves and firm stalks.
If any of the leaves are yellow or wilted, skip them.
Tatsoi looks like a dark green flower in bloom when grown in soil, but sometimes the stalks can be taller and tatsoi can grow more upright.
How to Harvest Tatsoi
Tatsoi grows in a low, blooming rose shape.
You can harvest the outer leaves as you want to eat them. Just cut off the stem as close to the base as possible, on the outer lying leaves.
The growing tip is in the center, so the plant will continue to produce new leaves from the middle.
Or, you can wait to harvest until the plant is full grown and then eat the entire plant!
How to Store Tatsoi
Sometimes when I’m growing plants, I pick off some leaves to prune the plant but don’t have enough to cook with it right away.
To store tatsoi for as long as possible, wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag.
Store it in the crisper draw of your fridge and it should last for 3 to 5 days.
If you bought a whole head of tatsoi from the grocery store, separate the leaves, wash it well and then again store the leaves in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge.
harvesting tatsoi to have as a side with salmon over rice
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How to Cook Tatsoi
Tatsoi is a really simple green to cook – you can eat it both raw or lightly sauteed.
And it’s incredibly healthy!
Tatsoi is an excellent superfood and source of vitamins C, A, K, carotenoids, calcium, potassium, and folate.
Cooking wise, I think of tatsoi like a hardier spinach. Sometimes I’ll steam or sauté it as a side. Or, I’ll add it to soups, stews and ramen right before serving for some extra greens in your meal.
You can even pickle it or turn it into pesto!
One of my go-to simple ways to eat tatsoi is by stir frying it with garlic, salt and pepper and having it with teriyaki salmon.
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