I grew up eating this odd coloured vegetable known as “yeen choi”. My aunt and uncle used to grow a garden full of them in their backyard in the summer, so we had it super fresh periodically in addition to buying it at the store. I wish I could share a picture of it, but they no longer grow them. Anyway, it’s also known as Chinese spinach. 🙂
What is unique about this “green veggie” is that it also has purple splotches on the leaves. That’s what gives this dish that reddish-purplish hue. It tastes a bit like regular spinach, but it also has an interesting furry-like texture to it (my cousin used to make excuses about it making his lips itchy so he wouldn’t have to eat it) and is a bit more woodier. Though rest assured, it doesn’t contain fur or wood! If you ever come across this in a grocery store, here’s a simple recipe to prepare the dish (though you can also do this with regular spinach too).
- Pot of water
- Bunch of Chinese spinach
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 garlic cloves cut into thin slices
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
To make this dish, soak the Chinese spinach in water to clean off the dirt (and potentially any bugs and pesticides). Pick out each stem, examine and throw out any bad pieces. Put the clean ones that pass your inspection into a strainer.
Then, fill a pot with water and bring it to boil. Once it’s boiling, add the strained Chinese Spinach. Cook briefly for about a minute or two, but not too long or it will be overcooked. Set aside.
In a pan, heat on medium with some oil and add the garlic. Fry the garlic up a bit and when the flavours have come out and it’s a nice golden-brown colour, add the pot of water with the Chinese spinach in. Add the oyster sauce and stir. Put it into a bowl and serve. That’s it!
Although it would probably be a really light meal if you ate it on its own, it is normally an accompaniment to a main entrée with some rice. Perhaps a steak or fish? It’s great to add some colour to your table too. Enjoy! 🙂