What are the most common Chinese greens, and how to cook them? We break it down, with recipes for methods like stir-frying with garlic or fermented black beans, poached and served with a drizzle of oyster sauce, and served in a rich broth.
'Chinese greens 101' on Serious Eats
Crunchy and tender baby bok choy goes for a spin with a punchy sauce made with lots of garlic and fermented black beans. It's a flavor-packed stir-fry with minimal prep and all the flavor, minus the gloppy sauce.
Of all the techniques we've covered in the series so far, this one is the easiest. First you blanch your greens in boiling water. Then you sauté some garlic and add some broth, pour it over the greens, and you're done. I can't think of an easier way to put a delicious side dish on the table.
This dish, which is made up of equal parts beef and greens in a light but flavor-packed black bean sauce with garlic doesn't quite qualify as a side dish, and seeing as I'm using a mixture of kale and frisée—two decidedly Western greens—it doesn't quite qualify as "Chinese greens" either. But the basic techniques I use in ut—just a quick stir-fry with no blanching—is a method that works with any kind of hearty green leafy vegetable, whether it's Chinese or not.
Stir-frying in a light sauce flavored with a little soy sauce and a lot of garlic is my go-to method for cooking Asian greens. Quick, simple, and flavorful, it's really hard to go wrong, no matter which greens you decide to cook.
Simply simmered Chinese broccoli has a hearty flavor that pairs well with oyster sauce in this classic Cantonese preparation. Our version adds some fried garlic to the mix, using the flavorful garlic oil to amp up flavor.