Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yunnan Greens

During our shopping expedition to Chinatown this weekend I ended up buying what amounts to 2-3 lbs of baby bok choy.  In case you have trouble visualizing that much bok choy, imagine an entire plastic shopping bag packed to the brim with vegetables.  So I had to do SOMETHING to use up some of the baby bok choy in the fridge, or risk it totally overtaking the entire vegetable drawer.  So I flipped through the cookbook we were using for our butternut squash soup and found this recipe, which calls for bok choy or Shanghai bok choy (aka baby bok choy).  Perfect.

Considering that there were only 3 dried, whole Thai chilis in the stir-fry for 1 lb of bok choy, this dish had a surprising amount of heat to it.  The heat was subtle, but it was definitely present.  My one complaint about this dish is that I think a couple cloves of garlic would have really added something to the dish.  Otherwise, it was an easy and tasty side dish.  And with the addition of garlic I would totally make it again.

Recipe after the jump!

Yunnan Greens
Adapted from Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia
By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

1 lb baby bok choy
2 tbsp peanut oil
3 dried Thai chilis
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp kosher salt, plus 1 tsp, separated

If your baby bok choy is tiny like mine was, leave it whole, but if you have the mac-daddy of baby bok choy, cut the heads in half lengthwise.  Rinse thoroughly in cold water and drain.

Boil a large pot of water.  Add bok choy and 1 tbsp salt to boiling water and blanch for 1 minute.  Drain.  Set aside.

Heat a large wok over high heat.  Add oil to hot wok and swirl to coat.  Add chilis and ginger to hot oil.  Stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add bok choy.  Stir-fry bok choy for 30 seconds, pressing them against the sides of the wok to sear the heads a little.  Add broth and boil for an additional 30 seconds.  Stir in cornstarch slurry, along with remaining tsp salt.  Stir fry for another 15-30 seconds, until ingredients are well-combined and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with steamed white rice as a vegetarian meal for one, or as a side dish for two.

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