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Vegetables, Vegetarian

Fu yu ong choy (stir-fried water spinach with spicy fermented tofu)

In the pristine prep kitchen above Culver City's Beacon restaurant, amid the bustle of lunch preparations, chef Vicki Fan is surrounded by vegetables. They cover her cutting board and worktable like a deconstructed garden: short mountains of gorgeous ying choy, ... Read more

Total time: About 15 minutes | Serves 4
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 bunch water spinach (ong choy), divided into about 2 cups stems and 2 cups leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon spicy fermented tofu

Step 1Heat a wok over high heat and add the canola oil, swirling it around in the wok to coat the pan. Heat until you see a wisp of smoke. Add the garlic and ginger and quickly stir-fry, only a few seconds, stirring with chopsticks.

Step 2Add the spinach stems and stir to coat the vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon hot water and cover the wok. Let the spinach stems steam for about 2 minutes, stirring once or twice and checking to make sure the vegetables don't burn. Add a little more water if necessary and a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Step 3Add the spinach leaves and stir as they wilt, about 30 seconds. Make a little well in the middle of the vegetables and add the fermented tofu. Stir over low heat until the tofu is completely incorporated and dissolves into the spinach. Serve immediately.

Note: From Vicki Fan. Red spinach or amaranth (ying choy) or regular spinach can be substituted for water spinach. These are available at some farmers markets. Fermented spicy tofu (such as AFC brand, sold in a jar labeled salted bean curd cubes) is found at Chinese markets. Keep a saucepan of simmering water or chicken or vegetable stock on the stove to add during cooking.
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