Growing up in my house in Hong Kong, we would always, without fail have a plate of vegetables to go alongside any main meal we were having. This is something I still do in my home, and the easiest and in my opinion yummiest way of incorporating vegetables with every meal is sauteing them with garlic. Read on to see how to cook my favourite vegetables.
This method of cooking vegetables is a Chinese classic, and its not unusual to find variations in cooking methods as it will differ from household to household. Lots of different methods include using a splash of Chinese rice wine for flavour, adding chillies along with garlic, using ginger as well as different ways of adding taste like with salt, soy sauce, or stock.
This recipe can be substituted with many different vegetables. You can use, bok choy, chinese cabbage, pointed cabbage, romaine lettuce, morning glory, spinach, choi sum, broccoli, chinese broccoli/gai lan/chinese kale to name a few. Once you have your chinese wok fried vegetable skills down, you can change it up to whatever you want!
Back to the pak choy - its important that the pak choi is good quality, so try and find bunches without holes in their leaves, no discolouration, bright green leaves and strong white stalks. Pak choi is relatively easy to find in supermarkets and it's definitely sold in the UK in Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, and M&S. In Ireland, i've seen it in Super Valu, Tesco, Dunnes and Avoca. Make sure you are looking in the bigger stores, as they don't stock them in the smaller express/metro shops. I'm sure you can find them at other places as well, but I've not looked for them there!
Ingredients to serve 2 as a side dish ( Matt and I like a lot of veg, so this could serve 4 as well)
2 packs of Pak Choi (usually its 250 grams a pack and you find 2 in each pack)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of chicken reduced salt stock granules (or 1 chicken stock cube/veg stock cube or granules also fine!)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil/rapeseed oil/peanut oil
Slice the pak choi by chopping off the thick base by about 1/2 inch. This should open up the pak choi and the leaves should be free. I like to cut the leaves in half, separating the green leaves and the crunchy stalks. If the stalks are wider than 1 inch, slice this down the middle to halve the size. If the leaves are on the large size, you can slice these in half as well. Wash the veg thoroughly. Drain all the water from the vegetables. Finely chop your garlic and set aside. Heat your wok or frying pan on a high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is simmering, add the garlic, and let it cook for 10 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it can taste incredibly bitter - so always check your heat, if its too hot remove the wok from the fire. Quickly add pak choi, and stir fry the garlic and veg together. Let vegetables cook for a further minute. At this point add in your seasoning*, tossing and stir frying the vegetables ensuring the flavouring has been absorbed evenly. Let the vegetables cook for another minute, and you should see that the leaves and stalks have wilted. If you like your veg on the crunchier side, plate up right away. Otherwise stir fry for another 30 seconds, switch off the fire and plate up.
*if cooking with a stock cube, add the cube to the oil at the same time as the garlic, and let it dissolve. Then toss in your veg as per above.