Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Prawns, Leaves, and Limes

[Photographs: Jonathan Lovekin]

Nigel Slater's London vegetable patch is home to a selection of hearty Chinese greens including gai lan, choy sum, bok choy, and mizuna. Taking inspiration from their Eastern roots, Slater has Asian accented recipes for them in Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch that are quick, boldly flavored and wonderful for familiarizing yourself with this fantastic family of greens.

Slater's Prawns, Leaves, and Limes is a five-minute stir-fry that's full of the sort of punchy, sour flavors that you'd find in a bowl of tom yum soup. Matchsticks of ginger and rounds of lemongrass are browned with scallions and chiles. The shrimp are thrown in with a mix of fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. When they have just cooked through, you'll add Chinese greens (I chose bok choy, but gai lan, choy sum or mizuna would work equally well) and cook them until just wilted. Handfuls of basil and cilantro are tossed in at the last minute, brightening the dish and adding even more green flavor.

These Prawns, Leaves, and Limes are ideal for those evenings when you're craving something a bit out of the ordinary, flavor-wise but don't really feel like spending an hour-plus on it. On the table in just about 20 minutes and served with a bowl of steamed rice, these prawns will beat the pants off Thai takeout any day.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch to give away this week.

Reprinted with permission from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater. Copyright © 2009, 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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