If you've had dim sum, there's a good chance you've had water spinach, stir fried with garlic till just wilted. It's a clean, simple dish that shows greens at their best, and one that takes quite well to mustard seed. I prefer the small hot "Chinese" seeds for this application to give the dish a little edge, but use whatever mustard you have on hand.
Since it takes bushels of greens to cook for more than a few diners, I usually save this for meals I take alone. Stir fries take best to small amounts of vegetables, though you can double this recipe with little ill effect to serve three to four. Any leftovers get tossed into fried rice. You'll have leftovers from the rice you've cooked to soak up the garlicky, vegetal sauce.
- Yield:1 to 2
- Active time: 5 minutes
- Total time:5 minutes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, preferably hot variety (see note)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (or other quick-cooking Asian green), washed and dried
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
- 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
- Kosher salt
Heat a wok on high till smoking, then swirl in oil. Heat till shimmering, about 30 seconds, then add mustard seeds. Stir to coat with oil. When seeds begin to pop, press a lid down in the wok for 10 seconds until popping begins to subside. Remove lid and add garlic, stirring vigorously to evenly distribute heat and keep mustard seeds from burning, until garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add spinach and stir with tongs to coat in oil. Stir fry until spinach begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes, then add rice wine and cook for one minute longer as a thin sauce forms. Remove wok from heat and add rice vinegar and salt to taste. Serve immediately, with rice.