Easy Recipe: Stir-Fry Chinese Greens


You’ve seen this in Asian markets, maybe even in the produce section of some of the supermarkets. If you’re in Chinatown, you’ll see them sold on every street corner. Shanghai Baby Bok Choy is an easy side dish. Other varieties are regular bok choy and baby bok choy. Don’t forget gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and choy sum (Chinese vegetables). I cook them all basically the same way: with olive oil and garlic. In fact, I used to cook the greens for my mother’s guests when they would come over on a weekly basis for mah jongg. I often received praise for the dish. Really, it’s easy and timing is key. Another word of caution: wash the greens well because there is a lot of sand embedded into the leaves. Try soaking the greens in mildly warm salted water for about an hour and then rinse A LOT; it helps to gently open up the leaves if you don’t want to separate them before cooking. Once the washing is done, heat up about a teaspoon of olive (or any kind of cooking oil) to line the bottom of the pan. I usually mince 1-2 cloves of garlic ahead of time, or I just crush and remove the skin of 2 cloves. When the oil has been heated, I add the garlic and saute it a little. Finally, I throw the washed greens into the pan. Yes, I really do throw them in and I LOVE the sizzling sound. Caution: keep children and kitchen-naive folks away from the kitchen. Depending on how crispy you want the leaves to taste will dictate how long you stir fry. I would give it about 5 minutes on medium-high heat, longer if you want the stems to be softer, but not more than 8-10 minutes. Serve with oyster sauce. Oh, portion-wise, a pound will generously feed 4 people.

You can also steam the greens. Or you can add them to the broth of noodle soups. Some folks boil water, then dip the raw greens in for a few minutes and then remove and serve with oyster sauce.

There are more elaborate recipes out there, so experiment and enjoy!

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