Out in the garden my snap peas have exploded into four feet tall bushes packed with little bundles of yum. The local deer have really taken a liking to them, so I’ve had to fence off that part of the garden again and again as the kraken-like tendrils reach up ever-higher. The delicate, curly little tentacles can be snipped off 2-3 inches from the top of the plant and cooked or even eaten raw. These are sometimes confused with “pea shoots”, of which I also happen to have quite a harvest of.
Lisa has been cultivating just the shoots in cut up plastic ramen noodle containers filled with soil. She presented us with a bunch of them a couple weeks back and we keep them on the window sill in the kitchen. Every so often I snip off a couple shoots for use in omelets, or salads, or simply stir-fried. So now that I’ve stockpiled enough fresh shoots and tendrils it’s time to make one of my favourite Chinese appys.
This recipe is blink-and-miss-it fast. You fire up a wok, toss in the shoots and flip it one… Two… Three times and you are done. Pea shoots are so delicate that you really just want to heat them through and give ‘em a bit of Wok Chi (essence of the Wok).
The accompanying sauce is a simple reduction of stock with a bit of garlic and oyster sauce. Try and find a good-quality Chinese brand of oyster sauce and avoid any bottles with a panda on ‘em *laughs* It’s seriously worth it!
Stir-Fried Pea Shoots (Serves 2)
- 1 Tbls. (15ml) Vegetable oil and 1 Tsp. (5ml) Sesame Oil
- 2 Big Handfuls of Pea Shoots (approx. 120g total, washed and well dried)
- 2 Tsp. Garlic (about 6g, minced)
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock (approx. 120ml)
- 1 Tbls. (22ml) Chinese Rice Wine
- 2 Tbls. (30ml) Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tsp. (2g) Cornstarch mixed with 1 Tsp. (5ml) Water
- Pinch of Toasted Sesame Seeds
(We’re going to use a wok, so you might want to turn on your kitchen fan or crack open the windows)
- Fire up your wok over maximum heat and wait until you can see wisps of smoke before adding the vegetable and sesame oils. Swirl the oils around the wok and quickly throw in the pea shoots (Tsssssss!). Toss them around once and then let them sit for 10 seconds. Toss them a second time and let sit another 10 seconds. They should already start to wilt and turn a brighter green colour. One more toss and they’re done! Take a long-handled spider or slotted spoon and transfer them into a waiting bowl, leaving as much oil as you can in the wok.
- Reduce the heat down to medium and add the garlic to the oil. If the wok is still too hot the garlic will burn, so if necessary you can add the garlic while the wok is idling off of the heat. Stir the garlic around for 30 seconds and breathe deep…. Mmmmm. Pour in the stock, rice wine and oyster sauce and give it a stir. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and let it reduce for 2 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture and cook another 1 minute to thicken. Pour over the pea shoots and serve garnished with sesame seeds.
Music To Cook This To
Nick Soapdish – Glitchy Mix