Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Stir fried snow pea shoots
When I started planning and planting a vegetable garden a few months ago, I knew there was a lot to learn. I'm not a complete novice in this area although my previous efforts were centred on spring and summer plants rather than vegetables that develop slowly throughout autumn and winter. It's been rewarding to harvest and cook small crops of kale, bok choy and pak choy yet slightly frustrating when things haven't worked out as they should (a few mistakes have been made along the way which I'm happy to count as part of the learning experience). An added bonus of expanding my gardening knowledge has been discovering other valuable information about certain vegetables that was previously unbeknownst to me
Many vegetable plants serve multiple purposes – the leaves of a beetroot plant can be cooked and eaten as well as the beetroot bulb that is more well known in culinary circles. That's a fairly common example I was already aware of. A new one for me was that the leaves of brussel sprout and broccoli plants are also edible greens. Prior to this discovery, I had been lamenting that my broccoli and brussel sprout plants may not have been planted early enough in the season – I'm looking at these plants in a new light now, at least I'll get a feed from their greens if the vegetables don’t mature.
I was also thrilled to learn recently that certain sections of snow pea vines can be eaten and are commonly consumed in some Asian cuisines. The growth on the vines of my snow peas has been phenomenal and now extends well over the boundaries of the supports I originally put in place for them (that was one of my learning experiences). While I was desperately hunting around for a solution to my bending vines I stumbled across ways to cook snow pea shoots/tips. It was a win-win situation – the wayward vines could be given a light prune and the clippings cooked up as a side dish.
It was suggested that the shoots are best enjoyed stir-fried with a little oil, I was happy to give them this treatment as I've been savouring all of my latest home grown produce in the simplest possible ways. I read about cooking snow pea shoots in a few different places but it was these two posts on Serious Eats I referred to when trying to work out the right sections to use and preparation methods. I was cautious to chop off the many curly tendrils as the texture of them was likened to dental floss which didn't sound particularly appetising.
After the snow pea shoots were trimmed of tendrils, washed and spun dry in a salad spinner it was only a matter of giving them a quick stir-fry in the wok with a bit of oil. I was so concerned that I was going to overcook them that they ended up being slightly underdone and a bit on the crunchy side. The shoots had a very similar taste to snow peas which we really enjoyed. Michael of where's the beef posted a recipe for Chilli lime tamarind tofu last week which I felt would be a perfect partner for our simple greens. The tofu was easy to prepare and full of bold spicy flavours, the only change I made to this was to add some garlic to the marinade - it was a delicious tofu dish which I'll be happy to revisit again.