Some dear friends of mine have a farm 20 minutes drive from us in Sebastopol which focuses on growing Asian heritage vegetables. When Radical Family Farms were just getting started, the first vegetable they ever sold was Pea Shoots or “Dou Miao” as they’re called in Chinese. I remember randomly coming across one of their Instagram posts and actually gasping out loud at the thought that no longer would I need to travel all the way down to San Francisco Chinatown to get them. I immediately DM’ed them and Leslie & Sarah invited me down to the farm to pick some up. The rest is history and now they can’t get rid of me. I don’t know what I’d do without RFF. I’d be cooking a helluva lot less Asian dishes than I am now!
Dou Miao pea shoots are crunchy and crisp with a tender middle, much like spinach stems. And similarly to spinach, when cooked, they wilt and soften extremely fast. This is why when cooking with pea shoots, it’s important not to overcook them, otherwise they can turn into a fiberous mush. This might make it sound like there is not much you can do with them but in fact, pea shoots are some of the easiest and most versatile vegetables to cook with. They are a staple in Chinese cuisine when stir-fried, go excellent raw as an addition to any salad and even work brilliantly on pizza! If you can get your hands on some, give them a try. What I love most about the pea shoots from RFF is that they keep the twisty tendrils at the end of the shoots. I believe they give the greens an extra injection of texture.
Here’s my recipe for stir fried pea shoots in gravy, a dish you will find in most authentic Chinese restaurants and one that was never missing from my Grandmother’s dinner table. It will have the texture of par cooked spinach but in a silky savoury gravy with a hint of caramel-ness from the soy sauce and sugar.
Stir Fried Pea Shoots in Gravy
Serves 2 as a side dish
100g/3.5oz fresh Pea Shoots
2 cloves Garlic, pealed and chopped
1 Green Onion, chopped
2T Canola oil
1 cup Stock
1T Soy Sauce
1/2T Corn Starch & 1T Water, mixed together
Heat the canola oil in a wok or pan over high heat.
As it’s hearing combine the stock, soy sauce and sugar. Stir together the corn starch and water in a separate bowl.
Just as the oil begins to smoke, throw in your garlic and pea shoots and toss for about 10 seconds.
Quickly combine the two stock and cornstarch mixtures together, making sure the cornstarch is evenly mixed in, pour the liquid into to the wok and keep tossing everything until the sauce thickens. Depending on the strength of your flame it could take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute to thicken. Immediately take it off the eat.
If the sauce too thick for you, add some water little by little to dilute it.
Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle the chopped green onions on top and serve immediately.
This dish will only take a couple of minutes to cook so save it till just before you’re ready to eat!
Serve with a selection such as rice and meat/protein dishes. The other day, I served it with fried rice, grilled fish & fresh tomatoes!