Quarterlifer How-Tos: Cooking Pea Tips!
And now, for another foray into the world of culinary arts.
I fell in love with these guys in China, only I never knew what they were called. While studying abroad, every so often, these wonderfully savory, crunchy, yet perfectly stir-fried veggies would some how make themselves to my table. A perfect pairing for rice and the more heavy chicken and beef dishes. After coming home I’d tried to recreate the dish using any green I could think of, mustard greens, kale, spinach, bok choy–but nothing quite measured up to the mysterious 菜。
I had all but forgotten about these yummy guys until this most recent Chinese New Year. As I was perusing the menu and preparing to order for my parents and partner (damn, that’s a lot of P’s) “Pea Tips” (清炒豆苗) jumped out at me and sure enough, they were the very things I had enjoyed while living in China. A quick internet search yielded several easy-to-follow recipes. Hallelujah!
The problem then came locating the primary ingredient. One day after work I decided to try my luck at a local Hmong grocery store. While browsing the produce section I was bombarded with several varieties of greeny-leafy veggies. I had almost given up hope but then at the end of the aisle, there it was: PEA TIPS!
Now, there are several similar recipes here, here, and here, but I’ve never been one for exact recipe following (as evidenced by my last cooking-centered blog). So, here’s MY version of cooking Pea Tips.
Pea Tips : 1 bag, can be found at Asian grocery stores in the produce section
Garlic: 2-3 cloves, minced
Oil: Canola, olive or whatever, enough to coat a wok
Chicken stock (vegetable stock would probably work too)
Apple Cider Vinegar
1. Ask Caucasian boyfriend if the wok is clean.
2. Not surprised when it is because you’re the only one in his family that uses it.
3. Open giant back of pea tips.
4. Notice pea tips have weird curly tendrils. Try to take a picture of the curly tendrils and fail since they are so elusive and ghostly.
5. Spend the next 30 minutes removing curly tendrils
6. Break the stalks apart into more manageable pieces, while also *removing the less pliable, more rigid stalks.
(*these next steps weren’t done the first batch, but I recommend you do them unless you want to be gnawing on leathery stalks)
7. Combine a tablespoon (or so) of corn starch in a cup (or so) of room-temperature water to dissolve
Corn starch. Apparently use this to make sauce. Who knew?
8. Prepare chicken stock by heating on
9. Add some soy sauce and a bit of vinegar to to warmed up stock.
Slowly combine corn-starchy water with chicken stock, stirring carefully. Dump corn starchy water into chicken, vinegar, soy sauce stock and stir like mad.
11. Put oil a bit (not all) of the chickeny-corn starchy-vinegar-soy sauce and your garlic into the bottom of the wok. Heat up until sizzlin’
j/k I filtered the crap out of this. Also, cropped out my thumb.
12. Add pea tips to sizzly sauce.
13. Stir around and stuff. Add more sauce.
15. Get miffed when sauce doesn’t thicken up.
16. Oh, well yolo.
14. When the pea tips seem tender. You’re done!
15. Enjoy with rice… obviously
Sorta looks like Easter grass. Oh well, still tastes good!