One of my favorite vegetables served at Chinese Restaurants is Sauteed Pea Vines. I rarely make them at home because Pea Vines (or Pea Leaves) are not a usual vegetable at my regular grocery store. But last night, I checked out a new Asian Market and saw beautiful big bags of Pea Vines - the ones with little tiny leaves and narrow stems and I just knew I had to cook some. Like all Chinese Sauteed Greens, all it takes is a hot pan with some oil, some garlic, some wet greens (very important so they don't get scorched), a little chicken broth and a few drops of Sesame Oil to finish. But because I wanted to make the greens extra special, I added a little bit of Shaoshing Rice Wine and some sliced Ginger too. They were so delicious that I had to share the recipe with you. I might add that they were so inexpensive and so easy to cook that I now question why I order them so often in restaurants when I can make them at home. This recipe will work well with any greens, whether Spinach, Collard Greens, Kale or Bok Choy. But with those vegetables, be sure to add a pinch of sugar as Pea Vines are naturally sweet.
Sauteed Pea Vines
3 Big Handfuls of Pea Vines, rinsed and drained (with water still clinging to the leaves)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 inch knob of Ginger, peeled and sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Shaoshing Rice Wine
2 Tablespoons Chicken Broth
1/8 teaspoon Salt (about 2 pinches)
1/4 teaspoon Sesame Oil (a little drizzle)
Heat a big frying pan or Wok and add the oil. When the oil is hot (it sizzles with a small drop of water), put in Garlic Cloves and Ginger Slices. Cook until you can smell the fragrance. Then add in the Pea Vines. Toss until the Pea Vines wilt. Then add in the salt, the Rice Wine and the Chicken Broth. Cook for a minute and then drizzle with the Sesame Oil and serve immediately.
Five Element Analysis
Pea Vines are fast growing and are a leafy green vegetable so they clearly belong to the Wood Element and the Chicken Broth contributes even more Wood. The Garlic and Sesame Oil bring in the Water Element and the Ginger adds the Earth Element. The Rice Wine adds the Fire Element. Only the Metal Element is missing so serving this dish with Tofu, a Metal Food, would make a balanced meal.