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Chinese Stir-Fried Vegetables

I love Chinese food, and one of my favorite dishes is stir-fried vegetables with minced garlic. It's such a simple recipe, but it's full of flavor and packed with nutrients. And the best part is, you can use any combination of vegetables you like.


I learnt how to Stir-fried vegetables from Serious Eats. They suggested a lot of cool tips for cooking. They mentioned that Stir-fried vegetables can be for Chinese broccoli, bok choy, and watercress work well, but even Western vegetables like kale, collards, Swiss chard, frisée, or even romaine or iceberg lettuce are good, as well. The key is to choose a mix of vegetables that have different textures and flavors, so the dish is balanced and interesting.


Here's a step-by-step guide to stir-frying vegetables with minced garlic from Serious Eats:


Step 1: Blanch hearty greens like kale, collards, or Swiss chard; blanch them briefly in boiling water before stir-frying. This will tenderize them slightly and turn them bright green. Blanching also helps to set the color of the vegetables by destroying the enzyme that turns them dark green. Once blanched, drain the vegetables and set them aside.


Step 2: Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, and add some oil. Once the oil is smoking hot, add the vegetables to the center of the wok. Because they've already been partially cooked through blanching, the stir-fry process is extremely brief—just a couple of moments.


Step 3: Push to the Sides. Once the vegetables are cooked, use a spatula or chopsticks to push them to the sides of the wok, creating a space in the center for the sauce.


Step 4: Add Sauce in a small bowl (i.e. mix some soy sauce, sesame oil, water, cornstarch, ground white pepper), and minced garlic. Alternatively, add the minced garlic first and stir-fry for about 1 minute before adding the remaining sauce ingredients.


Step 5: Toss to combine using a spatula or chopsticks. Toss the vegetables with the sauce until everything is well combined. Serve immediately as a side dish or as a topping for rice or noodles.



My usual stir-fry vegetable recipe at home:


Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of water spinach, throw away the roots, chop into 4 parts, then wash (can be any Chinese vegetable)

  • 1-2 tbsp of chicken stock

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tbs)

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

  • 1/8 tsp salt for softening vegetables faster

  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper powder, for taste if needed

Preparation:

  1. Heat the wok and add cooking oil.

  2. Add cut vegetables, mix well, and sprinkle salt to soften the vegetables faster.

  3. Shuffle vegetables aside, then add minced garlic cloves. Let them cook for 1 minute until they soften, then mix them together.

  4. Pour Chicken stock and mix well for 1 minute before serving.

  5. Serve as a side dish with the main dish and white rice.



When it comes to sauces for stir-fried vegetables, the options are endless. For those who want to add a unique twist to their stir-fried vegetables, a Teochew-style stir-fry may be just the ticket. This style of cuisine is known for its use of fish sauce, which can add a savory, umami flavor to dishes. However, it is important to be cautious when using fish sauce, as it can be quite salty. To add fish sauce to your stir-fried vegetables, simply add a small amount (1/2 tsp) to the wok or skillet as the vegetables are stir-frying.


Chicken stock powder (see the video) can be a fantastic substitute if you're looking for an alternative to fish sauce or salt. It adds a savory, umami flavor to the vegetables without the added sodium of salt or fish sauce. To use chicken stock powder in this recipe, simply dissolve a small amount of the powder in some hot water before adding it to the vegetables. Then, add the mixture to the wok or skillet and stir-fry as usual. The chicken stock powder will infuse the vegetables with flavor and give them a delicious depth.


Oyster sauce is another flavorful alternative for those who enjoy a sweet and savory combination. It is made from a mixture of oyster extract, sugar, and soy sauce and can add a unique depth of flavor to your stir-fried vegetables. To use oyster sauce in this recipe, add a small amount to the wok or skillet as the vegetables are stir-frying. Just like with fish sauce, be sure to use it sparingly to avoid overpowering the dish.


This stir-fried vegetable dish is so healthy and delicious, and it's a great way to get some extra veggies into your diet. Plus, it's easy to customize with your favorite vegetables and seasonings. I hope you give it a try!

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