Monday, March 26, 2012

Chinese Sautéed Greens

I crave vegetables; specifically leafy green ones.  I think my liver really needs them, as they are both cleansing for the liver and also supportive for liver function.  Tonight I was too tired to go to any serious effort  - another reason I needed to eat greens - so I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up a bunch of fresh Spinach. Then I went home and made Rice, which is easy when you have a rice cooker, so all that was required was to do a quick sauté of the Spinach along with some Chinese scrambled eggs and dinner was done.  In fact, this recipe is so simple that I wasn’t going to post it, but my son Stephen asked me to post it so he can remember how to make it. 

Here are the secrets for making your sautéed Spinach or any sautéed greens taste like they came from a Chinese restaurant. First you need to slice the garlic. This is to get the maximum garlic flavor into the oil and will keep it from burning, which gives it a bitter taste.  Second - wet the Spinach or other greens like Swiss Chard, Kale, Bok Choy, etc., again (after you have cleaned it) right before you put it in the pan as you need that moisture to get the right texture.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar – this is a very important step!  Then add a small amount of Chicken Broth - something you should always have on hand for Chinese cooking – I keep a box of Natural Goodness Chicken Broth in the fridge all the time. And lastly, add a few drops of toasted Sesame Oil at the end for the fragrance that it adds as Chinese food relies on the smell as well as the look and taste of dishes. You can use a regular frying pan – no wok is necessary. And after only a few minutes of cooking - voila! You have Chinese restaurant quality Spinach or other greens.  I also made some scrambled eggs with scallions and mushroom and put some Sriracha Chili Sauce on top to balance out the meal. All in all, I had a quick dinner that was done in less than 30 minutes. And, the Spinach was the best part!

Chinese Sautéed Greens

1 bunch of Spinach, washed and end of stem snipped off (or other greens such as Swiss Chard, Choy Sum or Kale)
1 large Garlic clove, sliced thin
1 -2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (use less if using a nonstick skillet
A pinch of Salt and a pinch of Sugar
¼ cup Chicken Broth
A few drops of toasted Sesame Oil

Heat oil in a frying pan until hot.  Add Garlic and cook until the Garlic fragrance rises, stirring often.  Rewet the Spinach (or other greens) in a colander and shake it before you put it into the pan. Sprinkle with the Salt and Sugar and add to the hot pan. Push and turn the Spinach with a spatula until it all wilts. Add the Chicken Broth and the few drops of Sesame Oil and cook until it almost evaporates (this will happen fast) and then put on a plate to serve. 

Five Element Analysis

Spinach and other leafy greens belong to the Wood Element so that element is covered already and the Chicken Broth adds even more.  So this is almost a completely Wood dish!  The Sesame Oil gives just the hint of the Water Element and the Garlic contributes some Metal and serving it with Rice brings in even more.  So, be sure to serve it with some other dishes that cover the other elements of Fire, Water and Earth.  I served my Spinach with Chinese Scrambled Eggs, as Eggs belong to the Water Element and they also contained Mushrooms that contribute the Earth Element. I also topped them with Chili Sauce that brought in the Fire Element for a balanced and fast meal!

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