Monday, August 9, 2010

Chinese Cooking Basics: Vegetables, Part II

It's Monday again, and that means another Chinese Cooking Basics! The third post in the series is a continuation to the introduction last week to the Chinese leafy greens. There is one method of cooking that can be applied to practically all types of Chinese greens, whether they be Choy Sum (菜心), Gai Lan (蓋蘭), Bok Choy (白菜) or Pea Shoots (豆苗), and that is a basically a cross between sautéing and braising.

The following are the steps to the cooking method I use for Chinese leafy greens for two. What you'll need ahead of time are 1 tbs oil, 2 smashed garlic gloves, thoroughly washed and drained greens, salt and 1 tbs water.
  • Heat up oil in a wok over medium-high heat, then add in garlic gloves. Let them sit until fragrant. This step basically makes an aromatic garlic oil.
  • Add the greens to the wok. Make sure to stand back as the oil will splatter when in contact with the wet greens. Add salt and toss the greens around to ensure that they have been coated by the oil.
  • Add water, and immediately put a cover over the wok. The steam and liquid will braise the greens.
  • The greens should be cooked within 5 minutes, depending on your desired texture. I like my greens with a bit of snap to the tooth.

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