Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chinese Kale - Early havest meal

Back in August of 2008 I posted about our trip to Oakland's Chinatown. While we were there I picked up a few seed packets in one of the many awesome grocery stores there. One of those packets was Chinese Kale, also known as Chinese broccoli. The same kind of broccoli we were served at Restaurant Peony in Oakland along with our delicious chicken that still had the head attached. Later I posted about my Chinese Kale starts on my Ignorant Gardener Blog and how I was having great success starting them in my milk jug greenhouses. Again, just a little over a week ago I wrote on my Ignorant Gardener blog about how those starts have grown into a fantastic patch of vegetables to be eaten. Well, tonight we got that pleasure, thanks to my husband harvesting, washing, preparing, and cooking that beautiful kale. We rarely have such an abundant harvest of anything but radishes this time of year, so this is particularly exciting for us.

We focused our meal around the Chinese Kale/Broccoli. I found a recipe in my cook book The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young. (I'll post the recipe at the end with my husbands modifications) and threw together some Chinese fried rice. One of the best ways to use up leftovers and odds and ends from your fridge.

The fried rice consisted of 4 cups of cooked long grain rice, two scrambled eggs, cooked, sliced and set aside, a mixed frozen package of seafood, a tsp of fresh ginger, 1/3 cup onion, about a cup of mixed frozen "stir fry" veggies and two tbsp of soy sauce. First my husband fried the onion and ginger in about 3 tbsp of olive oil/sesame oil. He added the frozen mixed seafood and then the frozen stir fry veggies. Last he added the rice. Then he stirred in the cooked eggs and the soy sauce and mixed it all up. This ended up being some excellent comfort food.

Then he cleaned the kale, chopped the stems up and set the leaves aside, and he cooked it, for the most part according to this recipe:

Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli and Chinese Bacon (in our case, salt pork)

10 stalks Chinese broccoli/kale (gai lan) about 12 oz

3 oz Chinese Bacon (lop yak) - we used about a 1/4 of some salt pork that chopped up in bits.

1 (we used a bit more) tsp soy sauce

1 tsp Shao Hsing rice cooking wine ( we used Mirin)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 garlic cloes, smashed and peeled

John washed the kale and trimmed it. The thicker stalks (more then 1/2 inch in diameter) he peeled with a veggie peeler and halved lengthwise. All (including leaves) were cut into 2 inch pieces and the stalks were kept separate from the leaves and buds.

John then combined the soy sauce, rice wine and sugar and set aside.

He heated the wok over high heat and added the oil and garlic and stir fried for about 15 seconds. He added the salt pork and cooked until done. Next he added the stalks and cooked for 3 or 4 minutes, and finally he added the leaves and cooked until limp. Then he added in the soy sauce mixture and cooked a couple more minutes. We served this up immediately with the fried rice. A quick and simple (simply delicious) dinner. Our kids happily devoured their meals.

Here's what it all looked like:
The Kale stems:
The fried rice:
John, adding in the Kale leaves:
My beautiful and delicious serving:
My youngest's serving (she wanted her dinner posted on Mom's blog - and she ate it all!)
I quick and economical meal. I love how the Chinese cook. Little to no waste, and I love being able to eat fresh Chinese veggies from my own garden. That trip to Oakland Chinatown keeps paying off.
Happy dining!

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