Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who Needs Spinach?

Who needs spinach when there is a plethora of other delicious greens you can easily get your hands on?

My personal favorite is chinese broccoli, pronounced guy lon in cantonese. What I love about this dark green veggie is that it is hearty and versatile. You can stir fry it on its own or you can mix it up with other ingredients that will bring out its textural goodness.

With guy lon, you can eat both the big palm-sized leaves and its meaty stalks. When you buy this in the markets just make sure of a couple of things: 1) that the bottom of the stalks have a nice white to it, and that there aren't any holes, and 2) that the stalks themselves aren't any bigger than say 1 inch in diameter. Holes indicate that the veggie is drying out, and larger stalks tend to be tougher. (Tough guy lon is not too fun to eat.) It usually comes in bundles, and is about 1/2 lb to 1 lb per bundle.

My favorite pairing for this choy (vegetable) brings me back to when I was younger, living at home, watching my parents cook. My dad would always stir fry it with cane sugar, ginger and rice wine presenting it on its own in a light syrupy sauce. My mom would add stuff to it playing up its versatility.
In my mom's instance, she'd normally chop it up into two portions, the leaves and the stalks. Doing it this way prevents the leaves from getting overcooked, and the stalks from being undercooked.

Soaked chinese mushrooms and dried scallops (both available at those stores in Chinatown that have the baskets of dried stuff), goes great with guy lon. Add some protein like chicken and you have yourself a delicious and healthy dish that you can eat with rice, rice cakes or noodles.

The best thing about this is that it's a one-wok cooking process:
  • Stir fry cubed chicken with garlic and ginger, and set aside.
  • Stir fry mushrooms with diced onions or shallots, and set aside.
  • Stir fry stalks using some of the dried scallop liquid to aid the cooking, add shredded leaves when stalks are halfway done
  • When leaves are sufficiently wilted, add in the chicken and mushrooms and finish cooking

It's a simply prepared dish that makes a delicious comforting meal.


Anonymous said...

Wow, looks great. I haven't mastered the art of "chow choi" yet, partially out of laziness and partially knowing that I'd have to eat the whole dish (Craig doesn't eat veggies much). My favorite presentation was always the whole stalks stir fried? or whatever my mom did to it, then a light shake of "ho yau" over it. Yum. I love the leaves best, ironic because for a lot of other veggies, I love the green crunchy stalk part best (Romaine & Chinese cabbage spring to mind). Will try this recipe... eventually :)

pinay said...

yummy! that's a good idea re: leaves and stems...I'll have to buy some soon.

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