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Pictorial: Stir-Fried Water Spinach w/ Beef


hzrt8w
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Pictorial Recipe

Stir-Fried Water Spinach (Ong Choy) with Beef and Shrimp Sauce (蝦醬通菜炒牛肉)

The summer is about here. Summer is the season for one of my favorite vegetables - Ong Choy [Cantonese], or Water Spinach - the "hollow vegetable". Ong Choy stir-fried with beef is popular. Typically there are two seasonings: one is using shrimp sauce, and the other one is using fermented bean curds. I like both seasonings so I alternate between them. If you are not used to the strong smell and taste of shrimp sauce or fermented bean curds, you may stir-fry Ong Choy without them. This dish is very easy to make.

Picture of the finished dish:

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Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3

Preparations:

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Main ingredients (from top-right, clockwise):

- 3/4 to 1 lb beef

- 1 small chili pepper (e.g. jalapeno pepper)

- Garlic, use 4-5 cloves

- Shrimp paste, use 2-3 tsp

- Ong Choy (water spinach), 1 1/2 lb

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Here is the feature of this dish: Ong Choy (water spinach), the "hollow vegetable".

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Trim off the ends and discard. They are usually too rough to eat and dirty from transportation.

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Slice the beef into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces. It is important to cut across the grain or else the beef will be tough to chew.

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To marinate the beef: use 1 tsp of light soy sauce, 1 tsp of ShaoHsing wine, 1 tsp of corn starch, 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper.

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Mix well. Set aside for about 30 minutes before cooking.

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Mince 4-5 cloves of garlic. Cut the chili pepper into small slices. Scoop about 2-3 tsp of shrimp sauce.

Cooking Instructions:

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Use a wok/pan, set stove at high temperature. Add 5-6 tblsp of frying oil, wait until oil gets hot. Velvet the beef slices in oil. It takes about 2-3 minutes.

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Remove the beef when it still shows a bit of the dark-pink color. Don't overcook. Drain off the frying oil.

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To speed things up, I use a second pan to cook the Ong Choy while the beef is velveting. Boil about 1 cup of water and add the Ong Choy.

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Only parboil for a minute or two. Don't overcook.

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Use a strainer to drain the excess water of the slightly-undercooked vegetable.

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Start with a clean wok/pan, set stove at high temperature. Add 2-3 tblsp of cooking oil. Wait until oil heats up. Add minced garlic, chili pepper slices and 2-3 tsp of shrimp sauce. The shrimp sauce is already quite salty. No need to add extra salt.

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Stir well. Cook the sauce and garlic/chili for 20 seconds or so.

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Return the Ong Choy. Stir well.

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Return the velveted beef slices on top.

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Continue to toss and stir-fry for a minute or two until the sauce is evenly coated on all ingredients. Finished. Transfer to a serving plate.

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Picture of the finished dish.

(Note: The quantity of food made in this recipe is about twice the portion shown in this picture.)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Looks great! Never had ong choy with beef, or meat of any kind. We usually make/order it with just fermented bean curds and lots of chili peppers. I'm sure the beef gives it a great flavor. Have to try that sometimes....Thanks for another great post.

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velvetting question:

please let me know if my technique has anything to do with it but while velvetting, the pan becomes a real mess i.e. pretty much unusable for anything else.

I had similar issues during cooking of chicken for the stir fried noodles as well.

please advice

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please let me know if my technique has anything to do with it but while velvetting, the pan becomes a real mess i.e. pretty much unusable for anything else.

Not sure what you meant there by "unusable".

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I guess you mean that the beef leaves too much deposit on the pan? 3 things-mix the beef with its marinade really well-at least 40 'grabs' with your hand(I like to add 1 pinch of soda here), use plenty of oil, and leave to sit in the pan a short while before stirring quite calmly. You need to let the surface sear a little each time before stirring.

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You can use a nonstick skillet for the velveting process, as you really don't need as high a flame for this step. I just use a regular carbon steel wok but give it a spray before adding the oil. Another solution is to place the meat in one of the large metal Chinese colander-strainers and dip that into the hot oil.

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Thanks Ah Leung! I see lots of unfamilar veggies at the farmer's market at Florin Mall and I have no idea how to prepare. Now I know what to do with water spinach. I would like to see other asian vegetable preparations, if you ever have time. :biggrin:

BTW your Lemon Chicken and the Lemongrass black bean Chicken dishes were easy and very tasty. Thanks again

"A few days ago, I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or stroke. The doctor listed many ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet Yoga. Talk a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress and he never once mentioned my sure-fire treatment......"

Maida Heatter

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Where's your new wok?! :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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yes most certainly I meant leaving too many deposits in the pan and unusable means that I had to clean it thoroughly before doing anything else.

I will try using the suggestions here

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Thanks Ah Leung! I see lots of unfamilar veggies at the farmer's market at Florin Mall and I have no idea how to prepare.[...]

Water spinach (which I know in Malay as kangkung -- is that from Hokkien, Hakka, or what?) is one of the green vegetables I like best. It reduces greatly while cooking, so you have to use a lot of it. There are many good ways to prepare it. A traditional Malaysian way to make them is with belacan (a type of shrimp paste that is darker than the one Ah Leung used for this dish) and little dried salted shrimps, with a good deal of dried red chilis and a good helping of garlic.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Another great tasting green. I think this dish will be this week's Chinese dinner! But I think I'd better get another jar of Shrimp paste. The one I have is aged and not much used, so might have lost something!

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Thanks Ah Leung! I see lots of unfamilar veggies at the farmer's market at Florin Mall and I have no idea how to prepare. Now I know what to do with water spinach. I would like to see other asian vegetable preparations, if you ever have time.   :biggrin:

Thank you. You may want to take a look at some past pictorial recipes that featured Chinese vegetables and see if there is any of interests:

Bitter melon:

Stir-fried Bitter Melons with Foo Yu

Chinese mustard green:

Stir-fried Mustard Greens (Gai Choy) with Salted Fish (咸鱼抄芥菜)

Bok choy:

Bok Choy with Garlic (蒜容白菜)

Snowpea:

Stir-fried Snowpeas with Oyster Sauce (炒双冬)

Lotus root:

Stir-Fried Lotus Roots with Dry Conpoy and Hairy Moss Fungi (連年發財: 瑤柱發菜炒蓮藕)

Hairy melon:

Hairy Melon Stir-fried with Mung Bean Threads (蝦米粉絲炒毛瓜)

Pea shoot:

Pea Shoots with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimp (蝦米肉碎炒豆苗)

String bean:

Sichuan Style Dry-Fried String Beans (四川乾煸四季豆)

Many of these recipes are just suggestions. You may usually mix and match them (green leave vegetables for green leave vegetables, melons for melons).

You can also download my "Ah Leung Pictorial Recipe" Windows help file and have all these recipes in one place for easy browsing. The URL is in my signature line.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Where's your new wok?! :laugh:

I am superstitious. I need to wait to get my fresh fish to have a wok-opening ceremony. :wink:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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yes most certainly I meant leaving too many deposits in the pan and unusable means that I had to clean it thoroughly before doing anything else.

I agree with muichoi, less corn starch, more oil, and quick on the spatula to stir the beef/meat around. I think the best is to sear the meat with quick intense heat instead of using a medium heat. I like to have a bit of caramelized surface instead of a watery one.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Water spinach (which I know in Malay as kangkung -- is that from Hokkien, Hakka, or what?)

Not sure. I do know Ong Choy / shrimp sauce is popular in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong Chinese might have stolen the technique from there... don't know.

I have seen video footage of one street stall in Singapore(?? or is it Malaysia?) selling "flying Ong Choy". The cook stir-fries Ong Choy in a wok. When ready, he just tosses the wok and let the Ong Choy fly across the street, and a skillful waiter, with an empty plate on his hand, will catch the flying Ong Choy and serve it to the customer. Quite a scene! Tourist attraction. Pike's Market has competition! :wink:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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But I think I'd better get another jar of Shrimp paste. The one I have is aged and not much used, so might have lost something!

Unlike Sichuan peppercorn spice, I don't think shrimp paste loses flavor over time. I had used a jar of shrimp paste that's over 2 years old since opened. Tasted the same.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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yes most certainly I meant leaving too many deposits in the pan and unusable means that I had to clean it thoroughly before doing anything else.

I agree with muichoi, less corn starch, more oil, and quick on the spatula to stir the beef/meat around. I think the best is to sear the meat with quick intense heat instead of using a medium heat. I like to have a bit of caramelized surface instead of a watery one.

That's how I usually do beef slices or shreds. Hot wok / hot oil / and press the slices onto the hot surface of the pan to get a sizzle. Turn like a pancake and sizzle/press the other side. I keep them on the rarish side.

Mmmmm! I can smell the aroma of the caramelization (such a word?) as I type!

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Thanks Ah Leung! I see lots of unfamilar veggies at the farmer's market at Florin Mall and I have no idea how to prepare. Now I know what to do with water spinach. I would like to see other asian vegetable preparations, if you ever have time.   :biggrin:

Thank you. You may want to take a look at some past pictorial recipes that featured Chinese vegetables and see if there is any of interests:

Bitter melon:

Stir-fried Bitter Melons with Foo Yu

Chinese mustard green:

Stir-fried Mustard Greens (Gai Choy) with Salted Fish (咸鱼抄芥菜)

Bok choy:

Bok Choy with Garlic (蒜容白菜)

Snowpea:

Stir-fried Snowpeas with Oyster Sauce (炒双冬)

Lotus root:

Stir-Fried Lotus Roots with Dry Conpoy and Hairy Moss Fungi (連年發財: 瑤柱發菜炒蓮藕)

Hairy melon:

Hairy Melon Stir-fried with Mung Bean Threads (蝦米粉絲炒毛瓜)

Pea shoot:

Pea Shoots with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimp (蝦米肉碎炒豆苗)

String bean:

Sichuan Style Dry-Fried String Beans (四川乾煸四季豆)

Many of these recipes are just suggestions. You may usually mix and match them (green leave vegetables for green leave vegetables, melons for melons).

You can also download my "Ah Leung Pictorial Recipe" Windows help file and have all these recipes in one place for easy browsing. The URL is in my signature line.

Thanks for the suggestions. I can't wait for the Thursday farmers market. I like the taste of salted fish so I will try the mustard greens next.

"A few days ago, I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or stroke. The doctor listed many ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet Yoga. Talk a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress and he never once mentioned my sure-fire treatment......"

Maida Heatter

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Thanks Ah Leung for this wonderful recipe. As dianalane said, if it would be possible for you we would like to learn more about the Chinese Greens. I simply love them but I don't know how to cook them. Whenever I go to a Chinese supermarket I see the produce section flooded with all kinds of greens, but I can't recognize most of them. My parents went to Shanghai and Beijing recently and they ate variety of greens with rice, accompanied usually with a fish or meat dish. They really liked it.

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Having seen Ah Leung's pictorial on ong choi, I ordered it here in New York yesterday. It was stir-fried with fu yu and lots of garlic. The thin stalks and leaves were fine, but the hollow stems were tough. There wasn't enough fu yu either, but then, I like lots of it when I cook green beans.

The Chinese food we've been eating here hasn't been spectacular. Cheap, homey, and way better than the over-priced food at our hotel. One place was called Ollie's. I wanted to buy a T-shirt there " Noodles is my life". :laugh: But I forgot. It was very busy, and both times, we had a table overlooking the kitchen. I wanted to go in and roll up my sleeves!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I have seen video footage of one street stall in Singapore(?? or is it Malaysia?) selling "flying Ong Choy".  The cook stir-fries Ong Choy in a wok.  When ready, he just tosses the wok and let the Ong Choy fly across the street, and a skillful waiter, with an empty plate on his hand, will catch the flying Ong Choy and serve it to the customer.  Quite a scene!  Tourist attraction.  Pike's Market has competition!   :wink:

Cool! There is a recipe for the Flying Greens, including an introductory paragraph about the whole flinging-greens-across-the-street act, in one of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks--"Far Eastern Cookery." The story that she was told was that the act originated in a town in northern Thailand, Phitsanulok. The act then spread to Chiang Mai and Pattaya. I suspect that, like a lot of these great-minds-think-alike phenomena, it probably sprang up independently in a number of other places as well. (And I've seen those fish-flinging guys at Pike Place Market up close and personal. They just fling 'em over their own booth--underachievers! :laugh::laugh::laugh: )

Meanwhile--I spotted a whole pile of ong choy in one of the Asian markets around here, so now I have a big bunch of my own to experiment with! I adore greens of all sorts, so I'm definitely looking forward to this. Once again, Ah Leung, my thanks.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Enjoying my ong choy now. I skipped the meat, and just did the garlic, chile, and shrimp paste. Wow, that was a mighty pungent cloud of vapor that went whomp into my face when that shrimp paste/garlic/chile mixture hit the pan! :laugh: I hope my roommate doesn't weird out on the fragrance when he gets home--right now I can't tell if the smell has just all lodged up my nose, or is hanging in the apartment. But the net affect on the greens is definitely lovely--in fact, I probably could have stood to put in a little more shrimp paste, I think I started with a larger bale of ong choy, even though it did cook down a great deal. Will definitely be trying this again--both the greens, and this technique using other greens. Only next time I'm going to stand a little farther back from the pan when I put in the seasonings. :smile:

Edited by mizducky (log)
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[...]

Wow, that was a mighty pungent cloud of vapor that went whomp into my face when that shrimp paste/garlic/chile mixture hit the pan! :laugh: I hope my roommate doesn't weird out on the fragrance when he gets home--right now I can't tell if the smell has just all lodged up my nose, or is hanging in the apartment.

[...]

Ha ha ha ha... LOL! :laugh::laugh: It happens faster than David Blaine does a sleight of hand magic trick! I should have posted a warning about the smell... BTW, did I say that the fishy-shrimpy smell will remain on your cloths for days??? :raz: Using fermented bean curds is safer.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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