Sunday, 20 July 2014

Stir-fried Garlic Beef & Ong Choi

Ong choi (or choy) is the Cantonese name (空心菜) for a leafy vegetable that is eaten all over Asia. It is also known as water spinach or morning glory although the Cantonese literally translates as "hollow vegetable" which is completely understandable once you get your hands on some.

I’d seen some in one of our local supermarkets and snapped it up (let’s face it Tescbury tends not to have anything out of the ordinary) on a mission to cook with something hitherto unknown to me. The most common means of preparing it is as a simple stir-fry, with or without some minced garlic but I came across a recipe on, reprinted from Delicious magazine that stirfried it with beef: this is an adaptation of that.

Spinach or even watercress could be used if you can’t find ong choi, or failing that tenderstem broccoli may work.

Just as an FYI, I often chuck my beef in the freezer for a while before preparing something like this to make it easier to slice thinly.

Garlic Beef & Ong Choi
serves 2

200g beef fillet, sliced into even-sized thin strips
few pinches Chinese five-spice
light soy sauce
Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp groundnut oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g ong choi, washed, leaves and stems cut across the stem in equal 10cm lengths
1 medium red chilli, finely chopped
½ tsp toasted sesame oil

In a small bowl mix the beef slices with the Chinese five-spice and a glug or 2 of soy sauce & Shaoxing wine, set aside.

Heat a wok over a high heat. When hot, add the groundnut oil and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the beef and stir-fry for a few minutes, until browned.

Add the ong choi and chilli and stir-fry until the leaves have wilted slightly.

Remove from the heat and drizzle over 1 tsp of light soy and ½ tsp or so of sesame oil.

Serve immediately with rice.

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