Very simple — ready in 15 minutes — side
Producing a wholesome green vegetable on the plate day in and day out is an obligation that most home cooks take pretty seriously. It is not easy, especially if you are getting bored of your standard super-market selection of evergreens.
Enter Asian greens.
Asian greens are a godsend, a real spring tonic, and adults and children alike will gobble them up. The seasonings Asian greens are most at home with ingredients that come from the same part of the world.
They aren’t particularly exotic these days, but why mess with perfection? Just make sure you get a pretty standard repertoire of Asian staples in your kitchen and the rest will come by itself. Oyster sauce? Check. Soy sauce? Hoisin sauce? Check, check. Dried red chiles, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger? Check. Dried shiitake mushrooms? Sichuan peppercorns? Rice wine vinegar? Sriracha sauce? Go get it! Having a few of them in your cupboard will expand your repertoire of greens preparations exponentially.
Here a few tricks and tips for prepping your Asian ever-greens:
- In general, about 0,7kg of Asian greens will serve four people.
- When buying a green that has florets, such as gai lan (aka Chinese red kale), choose a bunch with more buds than open flowers.
- Halve any thicker stems lengthwise.
- As with all greens, trim tough ends and remove any bruised or wilted leaves before rinsing well (to get rid of grit).
- If stir-frying, dry rinsed greens thoroughly before cooking; otherwise, the wok’s temperature will drop and the vegetables will steam instead of stir-fry in the excess moisture.
For this dish, you can literally use ANY kind of Asian greens, such as bok choi, pak choi (Bok choi’s big brother), asparagus broccoli, nappa cabbage (aka chinese cabbage), gai lan (aka chinese broccoli), water spinache.. the list is endless.
We also added some carrots to it, and pretty sure spring onions would also make a nice addition. Add some glass noodles on the side, and ready is your healthy, Asian meal!
A great technique for cooking Asian greens is stir-frying.
In short, here’s what to do:
- Heat a wok (not nonstick and preferably cast-iron) over high heat until very hot.
- Swirl in a little peanut or vegetable oil and aromatic seasonings, such as finely chopped garlic or shallots and thin matchsticks of fresh ginger.
- Cook those, stirring, until fragrant, a matter of seconds, then add the greens. Stir-fry those for a couple of minutes, then stir in equal amounts of oyster sauce and rice wine, if you have.
- Transfer the greens to a platter, then boil the pan juices until thickened just a bit and drizzle over the hot greens. Yum.