We rarely have choy sum over here. I have no explanation except that maybe I don’t know how else to have choy sum other than in noodle soups. I’ve never quite had them stirfried and so never think of them as stirfry veggies. Up until I tried it myself and discovered that a good sauce over it can change this slightly astringent veggie into something wonderful!
(I just did a Google search and discovered that so many people mix up choy sum with bok choy and kai lan. Sigh….)
I make my sauces from very simple basic everyday ingredients. I think the main flavour base comes from the mushroom soaking water. I rarely throw that away because mushrooms contain loads of woody flavour that adds depth to any dish.
For this simple stirfry, I used:
I gave my reconstituted mushrooms a little snip as they were rather large pieces. I love trying out new types of mushrooms and I’m glad I tried this one. Maitake is not a very common one and is definitely slightly pricier but the crunchy texture and musky flavour is unbeatable.
After some time steaming under the cover, the dish is almost ready. I removed the veggies first to prevent over-cooking. Choy sum gets stringy when overcooked. Then, some cornstarch and water is mixed up to create a slurry for sauce thickening. The veggies do release moisture. Didn’t want swimming veggies.
I guess it’s usually how we prepare our veggies in order to make them more appetising. I’l never look at choy sum the same way again.
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. ” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Choy Sum & Mushrooms
1 bunch Choy Sum (mine was about 300 gms), ends trimmed
2 cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
1 cup dried Maitake Mushrooms (use whatever you like, fresh or dry), reconstituted & soaking water reserved
1/4 cups reserved mushroom soaking liquid (or broth if you prefer)
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 tbsp Fish Sauce, to taste
1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Water
- Cut the stem off the choy sum into about 2 inch sticks. Keep the leaves whole.
- In a warm pan with 2 tbsp vegetable oil, sauté the minced garlic for about 1 min.
- Add drained mushrooms and give that a stir.
- Scatter in the choy sum stems first.
- Pour in oyster sauce & fish sauce with mushroom soaking liquid. Mix everything well and let it come to a boil and leave to simmer for about 1-2 minutes.
- Finally, add in choy sum leaves and toss until leaves have wilted, about 1 minute.
- In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water to form a slurry.
- Remove cooked choy sum onto serving platter.
- In the remaining sauce, stir in the slurry. Make sure the pan is on HIGH heat. it will take about 20-30 secs to thicken and get glossy.
- Pour sauce over vegetables and serve with rice!