Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce
Choy sum (also known as Chinese flowering cabbage) is a very quick and easy vegetable to cook. I pan-steamed the greens for only a few minutes to maintain a bright green color and paired them with an oyster sauce mixture. Of course, I also had to modify the recipe a bit for the strictly vegetarian diet of my husband Lulu, but the method is exactly the same.
You can serve them as is or with a sauce of your own. It's a healthy and flavorful way to open a meal. I've had it often that way at dim sum restaurants. In fact, it's usually one of the few vegetable dishes offered. With this recipe, you can have it at home, without the dim sum prices!
Yields: 6 servings2 bunches choy sum
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or any white vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon ponzu soy sauce
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons dried fried shallots (store-bought), optional
Discard any yellowish, damaged leaves. Fill a large bowl with water. As you rinse the choy sum in the water, try to open up the leaves to remove any dirt. Make sure the center portion is still intact so the vegetable still holds together. Trim the ends. Cut at two thirds of the length of the greens, separating the stalks from the leaves (about 6-7 inches) and set the leaves aside.
In a deep pan, combine the chicken broth, rice vinegar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and immerse the choy sum stalks in the broth. Cover with a lid and blanch for about 3-4 minutes. Add the leaves and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately shock the greens in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. The choy sum should be tender but still have some crunch. Pat dry on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the oyster sauce, ponzu, agave nectar and Sriracha. Warm it in the microwave (or over low heat on the stove). Pour the warm sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle and squirt it over your greens.
Serve hot and top with dried fried shallots or sesame seeds if you like. (The main choy sum stalks are not pictured; I only took a photo of the leaves, which are the most tender part).
For a vegetarian version, I use vegetable broth and hoisin sauce. It's equally adelicious.
If you have an allergy to sesame, you can substitute canola oil for the sesame oil.
You can cook any other greens such as broccoli, yao choy (younger, much thinner, more tender Chinese flowering sprout), bok choy or Chinese mustard greens.
I buy dried fried shallots at the Asian store. They're crunchy and very strong in flavor. You can also make your own by frying thinly sliced shallots if you like. Sprinkling the fried shallots adds flavor and crunch to the vegetables. If you don't have any, you could also add slightly toasted sesame seeds.
I used ponzu soy sauce; it's perfect for this sauce. It's lemony, tangy, sweet and less salty than regular soy sauce.
Agave nectar is a natural sweetener. You can find it in specialty stores such as Whole Foods and in many regular grocery stores. In France, it's called agave honey. Unlike honey, agave nectar has a long shelf life and does not crystallize over time. Agave nectar is made out of the purified sap of cactus-like desert plants. If you can't find it, you could use palm sugar (you can buy this in Asian stores, at Costco or Trader Joe's), honey or granulated sugar.
I buy plastic squeeze bottles at Daiso, the Japanese version of a 99-cent store. They cost $1.50. If you live in the Bay Area, you should check out this store; they have a lot of interesting items made in Japan and Korea.
You can find all the ingredients listed in most Asian stores.Published By: on February 18, 2010.