Spinach Stir-fry with Garlic | 蒜炒菠菜
Garlic stir-fried veggie is the basic of the basic in Taiwanese/Chinese cooking. Sweet, tender spinach with pungent, flavorful garlic that fills the air with aroma in under ten minutes. In the season that lacks green veggies at the farmers market, there was some gorgeous spinach I just couldn’t resist and what better way to prepare it than a simple, basic spinach stir-fry to really show off the taste of these sweet delicious veggies?
Veggie stir-fry with garlic is one of the most common ways to prepare any leafy vegetable in Taiwan, but unlike the Chinese restaurants in US, mixing three different kind of vegetables in a dish isn’t common. We prefer to prepare each veg separately and has more than one dish to go with rice or noodles.
What’s great about this spinach stir-fry recipe is that you can use the same method with almost every kind of vegetable! Green bean stir-fry, cabbage stir-fry, mustard greens and swiss chard… It’s fast and easy, so simple but it tastes so good. We often sit there and pick on the tiny pieces of garlic after the veg is gone!
I’ve been craving green veggies and beef ever since the first snow, I think my body is trying to tell me that I need iron and vitamin C. The part that suck is that we don’t eat that much meat, so I never remember to buy any beef at the farmers market and the option for green leafy veggies has really decreased since the farmers market in Rochester moved indoors. Lucky for me, they have these gorgeous spinach selling for $4 per bucket and they were seriously the tastiest spinach I’ve ever had in my life! They have a sweetness to it, and they are super tender. I love it so much we buy a bucket of it every time we go to the farmers market.
Taiwanese cooking is really similar to Indian cooking in a lot of senses, the way we care about a balanced diet; how we believe in food therapy; the way we infuse our oil with flavor when we cook… For example, in this recipe, the oil is heated up then garlic is tossed in the oil for a minute to evenly distribute the aroma of garlic through the dish. Adding a certain ingredient at a certain time makes a big difference with how a dish tastes in Taiwanese and Indian cooking.
I find the hardest part of stir-frying veggies is how much the vegetable is cooked. The perfect texture is to have the vegetable cooked, but not over done so the vegetable is still crunchy and not soggy. I tend to under cook the greens slightly, as the veg will continuous to cook even after it’s removed from heat. Under cooking it slightly helps the veg to stay green and reaches the perfect doneness after.
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- 1 TBsp Olive oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1/2 Lb Spinach Washed and chopped into 2" pieces
- 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 Red Chili diced, optional
Heat 1TBsp Oil in a wok or pan on medium high heat, and add the minced garlic (and chili if using) to the wok and stir until fragrant. Roughly 10 second
Add the chopped spinach to the wok
Stir occasionally until done, about 6 minutes, add salt and taste. Adjust accordingly.
Remove from heat and serve
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