Tag Archives: seasonal vegetable

Stir-fried Water Spinach with Fermented Bean Curd (腐乳通菜)

1 Jun

Water spinach

It always makes me happy to see water spinach in season.  Sometimes known as the “hollow stem” spinach or Ong Choy, this popular vegetable among the working class, especially peasants, in Southeast Asia back in the old days is now widely enjoyed by mostly everyone.  It is common in Cantonese cuisine to fry this leafy vegetable with fermented bean curd. 

So what is fermented bean curd?  The same question was asked in Jackie Chan’s movie Armour of God (1987), to which Chan answered: “It’s Chinese cheese.”  (Please don’t ask me why I remember random sh** like that).   Similar to the process of making cheese, bean curd is exposed to aerial bacteria and fungal spores to achieve the status of fermentation, for preservation purpose and its damn good taste.  

Chinese fermented tofu. Can be found in most Chinese supermarkets and grocers

So to make this dish: 

Wash the vegetable thoroughly and cut it into roughly 2-inch segments, leaves and stems.  Heat up oil in a wok/frying pan.  When the oil is hot enough, drop in 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 cubes of bean curd.  Stir-fry the garlic and bean curd for 2 minutes.  Drop in the spinach.  Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes and pour in a tablespoon of the brine from the bean curd.  Taste to see if it’s salty enough— if not, add salt.  Depending on the brand of bean curd you get, you may get varying degrees of the fermented taste/saltiness.  

Cut and washed

Advertisements

Stir-fried Luffa with Garlic (清炒絲瓜)

24 May

Most people associate luffa with that rough, fibrous thing you use to scrub down dead skin.  Yes, it is great for that, once it has aged to the stage where the center of the vegetable is hardened and hallow.  But before it gets there, luffa is a great seasonal vegetable that has a sweet taste that is great when stir-fried with some garlic. 

The most annoying part of prepping this dish is peeling the luffa.  How annoying?  Its irregular skin that almost has a resemblance to a cactus is very challenging even with the best peeler in hand.  And I have fallen victim to it, as illustrated here: 

So to be safe, pay close attention to your fingers while peeling these babies.  To cook them, simply heat up oil in a wok/frying pan and drop in coarsely chopped garlic.  When you smell that good old fried garlic smell, throw in the vegetable.  Stir-fry until the vegetable is soft.  Luffa is packed with water so your dish will have quite a bit of liquid from the vegetable.  Season with salt.  And eat with a bowl of steamed rice.

Luffa

Peeled and sliced