Sunday, February 2, 2014

Veggies

Veggies with Roast Pork and Lop Cheung
Sometimes I get a real hankering for a big plate of stir-fried vegetables, whatever's on hand. I love vegetables of all kinds and always have. As a kid, I had two rather finicky siblings who didn't like a good number of veg between them, and so I often got double helpings of those things that they wouldn't eat. Score!

Today, we went to the store in anticipation of the snow storm tomorrow and in anticipation of having red-cooked chicken tomorrow night to score some chicken and some rock sugar for the braise. While we were there, we grabbed a can of baby corn, some gai lan (Chinese broccoli), a few hon-shimeji (Beech mushrooms), and a few snow peas to augment what we already had in the refrigerator.

From the refrigerator, I grabbed a lop cheung, a small piece of roasted pork (from the last post), nappa cabbage, cilantro, pickled mustard stems, garlic, and ginger. I had hoped to put in a bit of pressed tofu, but our leftover bit was infected with a yeast and so I decided not to take a chance.

Fifteen minutes of prep et voilà!

High heat is the key to a great stir-fried dish. If you don't have a professional wok and wok burner (I don't and most fire codes prohibit them in residential kitchens and in many restaurant kitchens as well), you need to get a pan really hot and work in batches so that you don't overload your pan. You are looking for the elusive wok hei (breath of the wok) that comes from scorching heat. If you overload your pan, your vegetables steam and don't stir fry at all. A splash of stock or water added once the vegetables begin to brown will flash steam them to a perfect crunchy cooked texture.

My little stir fry here took four batches. I started with the items that wouldn't overcook while waiting for the other batches to get done (corn, lop cheung, pork, Chinese broccoli stems, pickled mustard stems) and ended with the most tender vegetables that would overcook most easily (snow peas, Chinese broccoli blooms, and green onions).

Vegetables to warm a heart!

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