Healthy Chinese style green vegetables stir fry—water spinach.
Water spinach also known as Chinese water spinach, rive spinach is the most popular leafy greens in hot summer days. It has long leaves and hollow stems so we name it “空(kōng)心(xīn)菜(cài)”, literally translated as hallow heart vegetable. It is grown in water or damp soil. The tender leave usually has a sweet and mild taste. Usually break the steam into 2 inch pieces along with the leaves. It can be used as a simple garlic stir fry or in stews and noodles.
We do not need too much condiments in this recipe other than garlic and dried chili peppers. When frying leafy vegetables, cooks usually work hard to reduce the cooking time. So firstly we need to heat up the wok and then add oil to heat. Try to move the vegetables around the wok so they can be heated by the hotness of the entire wok. We call the hotness of the wok “锅气”.
If you are familiar with Chinese style food planning and preparing, you may noticed that we promote a balance diet. My summer meal plan is one meat dish (fish, chicken, pork, beef and lamb) + one salad or vegetarian dish + one green vegetable stir fry + soup in winter or cool drink in summer. We eat water spinach twice per week because I love it but my husband loves edible amaranth. Heathy water spinach stir-fried with garlic. Chinese cooking has a different theory from western cuisine. We emphasize on the table balance other than balance of a single dish. So stir-fried leaf vegetable is an essential part of a classic Chinese meal.
- 250 g water spinach
- 2 garlic cloves , sliced
- 2 dried chili peppers cut into small sections;
- 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
- 1/4 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn
Discard the tough stems and keep the tender parts. Then break the water spinach into 10cm length sections. Wash carefully and drain.
Heat oil in wok over highest fire, add dried chili pepper and heat until they turn dark red. Add garlic, fry for a short time (around 5-8 seconds). Add water spinach and salt, quickly fry for no more than 20 seconds until all of the vegetables get seared evenly. Add salt and mix well.
Serve immediately. After around 8-10 minutes, the vegetables become dark due to oxidation process. So this should be the last to make dish if you are preparing a large meal.
Try to eat the vegetables within 15 minutes; otherwise, both color and taste will be destroyed.