Friday, 26 February 2010

Greens are good for you...

It was a very dull and grey day today. At least the snow was almost all gone. Yesterday when I was waiting for the bus, all the boys waiting for their school bus were busy trying to make snowmen before the bus came.
This morning I did spot these bulbs coming up at the end of the road , and couldn't resist adding some text to the stone slab.
RIP Winter is a vain hope, though - tonight and Sunday are both forecast to have temperatures below freezing.

Tonight we had one of C's favourite dinners - a curried beef and potato stir-fry. We always have it soon after one of his other favourite dinners -Chicken Kebabs with Satay Sauce. I used to be able to buy a lovely commercial Satay Sauce, but since it went off the market I've tried I don't know how many brands, and gave up on all of them. It's fiddly roasting and skinning the nuts to make your own, though.
Anyway, with the chicken kebabs we almost always have this recipe for Stir-Fried Chinese Leaves, from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book. There are enough Chinese living in the neighbourhood that our local grocer almost always has Chinese Leaves. One large head will make enough for about 3 people.
Stir-Fried Chinese Leaves:
1 large head Chinese Leaves (Chinese cabbage, wong bok)
4 tblsp oil
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped onion - I usually use one French shallot
1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 slices fresh ginger
1 1/2 tblsp each  sherry and light soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
1/4 chicken stock cube
1 tblsp melted lard, chicken fat or sesame oil (I like the flavour this gives, if it's one with some toasted sesame oil in it, and not just all untoasted)

Shred the leaves.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Put in the garlic, onion and ginger and fry for one minute, to flavour the oil.
Put in the Chinese leaves and a good teaspoon of salt, and stir constantly for about 3 minutes, so it's all finely coated with the oil. Add the sherry, soy sauce, sugar and stock cube. (I don't like cubes and don't buy them, but if and when I find jars of a good concentrate, I use a quarter teaspoon of that). Reduce heat and continue stirring and frying for another couple of minutes. If it looks too watery, turn the heat back up. If it's drying out too much, add the least amount of water possible. Just before serving add the fat or oil and season to taste.

Another green leafy stir-fry we are partial to is this Gujerati-style Cabbage with Carrots, from Madhur Jaffrey.We normally have it with curries, but when catering for holiday camps I've served it with boiled ham or bacon.

Gujerati-style Cabbage with Carrots: (4-6 as a side dish)
3/4 lb green cabbage, finely shredded
3/4 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated 
1/2 - 1 fresh green chilli, cut into long thin strips
4 tblsp oil
pinch of asafetida (optional - it's not always easy to find)
1 tblsp whole black mustard seeds
1 whole dried red chilli
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 tblsp chopped coriander / cilantro
1 tblsp lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. When hot add the asafetida, and then straight away the mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the dried red chilli. Now add the carrots, cabbage and green chilli. Reduce the heat, and stir the vegetables for a minute. Add the salt, sugar and coriander. Continue to stir-fry for another 5 minutes till the vegetables are just tender but not overdone. Add the lemon juice and serve.

1 comment :

  1. I like the new look. And... you are just too funny - RIP Winter. I'll second that. We just had our 3rd snow day and I'm always wary of March for a good snow storm. Your recipes sound wonderful and good for a cold day.