Cooking Braised Belgium Endives

braised belgium endives

I’ve never seen Belgium endives in Malaysia until recently. The Belgium endive is a dish I first sampled in Latvia during my second Europe backpacking trip two years ago. It didn’t look like much to me but I was told it’s good (couldn’t read anything coz Latvia doesn’t use a lot of English) so I ate it. It tasted better than it looks.

belgium endives

I was out shopping with my better half when I came across this bitter vegetable. Yes, this is one of those really bitter leafy greens but it becomes less so when cooked properly. Some people use sugar in their recipe but I decided to recreate the dish without that at home.

browning belgium endives

I bought a couple of packs of Belgium endives – enough for two people. Belgium endives retails for RM 29.90 per kg so it cost me RM 18 just for 500 grams of the vegetable. It’s quite easy to prepare – the traditional recipe for braised Belgium endives uses just a few ingredients you can find in any kitchen but takes a looong time to cook.

It’s supposed to be slow cooked and that’s how I did it – took me *two hours* to braise the Belgium endives.

sliced belgium endives

You will need:

  • Belgium endives
  • Butter (real butter, not margarine or any of that crap)
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice (from a real lemon)
  • Water

melting butter

I used about 3 heaped tablespoons of butter in my recipe. I had a stick of it and cut off a nice portion and melted it slowly. Be careful not to burn it! Use really low heat.

coring belgium endives

Meantime, prepare the Belgium endives by using a sharp knife to cut out a hard, fibrous core at it’s bottom. Once that’s out, you can proceed to slice it in half!

lemon

Brown the endives in the butter by putting it on a single layer with the cut side down and sprinkle salt and lemon juice over it.

belgium endive

Fill up the pan until the Belgium endives are 3/4 submerged in water and proceed to braise it at low heat.

braising endives

Remember to turn the endives over occasionally so both sides will be cooked! It’s done when the endives are tender and has absorbed *all* the water that was in the pan.

braised belgium endive

That’s all there is to it! I garnished it with some edible flowers since the dish looks a bit drab (and also coz the edible flowers provides a contrasting crisp texture to the soggy braised Belgium endives).

cooked belgium endive

It’s not the prettiest dish around but I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it before. I gave some of it to my dear raw (it can be eaten in salads) and it’s very bitter and braising it will reduce that intensity. She did tell me it tasted bitter and slightly burnt. I prefer the term caramelized. smirk Braised Belgium endives should come out tender and buttery! :)

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24 thoughts on “Cooking Braised Belgium Endives”

    • Braised Belgium endives is actually a pretty common dish in Europe! :)

      I first had it there anyway, was pleased to find the vegetable here so I try myself.

      Haha! It’s mildly bitter and buttery, nothing like pig teats, which are made into pig noodles – posting tomorrow! :D

    • It’s not as bad as Brussels sprouts! :)

      I forgot we had sugar or we could have tried that recipe to downplay the bitterness. Haha!

      It’s all good though, this is the traditional recipe! <3

    • Yeah, I thought it’s pretty when it’s uncooked too! :)

      There’s a different version for around RM 70 per kg – also endives but of the curly variety.

      Belgium endive is hard to find here, this is the first time I’ve seen it myself.

    • I’ve never seen this vegetable in Malaysia until recently too! :)

      I go to this grocery often since it’s the closest to my condo (7 minutes).

      Yeah, essentially, that’s what braising does – I filled the pan up to 3/4 of water to cover the Belgium endives and slow cooked it to reduce the bitterness. :D

    • It’s a hard to find vegetable here coz it has to be imported! :)

      I had it in Latvia, of all places, during my stop there on my way to Georgia. I couldn’t read anything at all, it was freezing (snowpiles drove snow dunes higher than me!) and the buttery braised Belgium endives I had tasted really good – especially the butter, since it warms you up, which is why I used so much in my recipe.

  1. HB, I mostly use endives for appetizers. Separate the leaves and I mix cooked bay shrimps and horseradish, chop red onion, pickle relish, mayo and lemon juice together with some hot sauce and dill. . I got shrimp remoulade.

    • Yeah, it sounds good eaten that way too! :)

      Belgium endives can be used raw in salads too, I gave some bits to my better half and ate it myself before deciding to braise it since we only had enough for 2 people so I didn’t want to do it two ways.

  2. Okay, something new for me again LOL, never seen nor have i heard of of this before, thanks for sharing, at least i got an idea that its bitter in taste :)

    • It’s the first time I saw it here too! :)

      That’s why I like shopping here, there’s always new things coming in. I wanted to try cooking it myself.

  3. HB, if bitter, perhaps can blanch it first then only braise it? Might be able to take the bitterness away… then it will be sweet.. like those “kai choy”… anyway, good to try new stuff.. Belgium endives.. hmmm.. dont think they sell them in Jaya Jusco.. .

    • Sounds good Reena! :)

      I just personally seldom blanch vegetables. I don’t soak them in water too coz I always have this thinking that it’ll lose the nutrients inside.

      Yeah, I’ve never seen in Jaya Grocer too but they have interesting stuff too. Ben’s Independent Grocer is closer to me and always comes out with new products so it’s interesting to get things to cook there. We sometimes go to Presto too!

    • Yeah, we recently saw it in Ben’s Independent Grocer! :)

      BIG always have new products so it’s fun to shop there. The other two places we go to is Jaya Grocer and Presto – which have interesting things too, like the kiwano (horned melon).

  4. Since your better half complained it was bitter I thought you could have added honey instead of sugar. The Chinese chefs would probably add dates or assam-boi instead.
    You seem to love flowers!! I remembered that you also had flowers sprinkled onto the hotel’s bed. It was you, right?

    • Haha! I’ve seen a sugar recipe but I don’t think honey would work well! :)

      Yup, my better half arranged it for me here and I arranged it for her in Cambodia!

      The edible flowers is what we got in a box – lots of different ones, all with their own unique texture and taste. I didn’t know some of them were edible until recently.

  5. I don’t think Kuching has this.. I went to Queen’s at CityONE last night and I didn’t see this type of vege. Looks easy to prepare .. can try if i’ve the cooking mood.. hohoho.

    • Yeah, it’s the easiest thing to braise Belgium endives! :)

      The waiting time is what’s necessary coz you need a long time for the water to be absorbed into the endive – minimum would be an hour.

      Cooking is a lot of fun, am thinking of doing something to that effect!

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