Why It Works
- Making the garlic crisps and utilizing the garlic-infused oil for the stir-fry provides fragrant savoriness to the dish.
- Beginning the stems within the scorching pan earlier than including the leaves yields evenly-cooked, tender-crisp greens.
No Vietnamese meal can be full with out a plate of greens, and infrequently, it’s rau muống xào (sautéed morning glory) you’ll see on the desk. There are a lot of variations, however the commonest is with garlic, which may stand alone as probably the most fundamental flavoring, or act as a foundational notice to help different flavorings and add-ins. One in all my favourite methods so as to add some heft to this easy dish is to toss in a bit little bit of beef to make rau muống xào thịt bò (sautéed morning glory with beef).
Inexpensive and versatile, morning glory (rau muống) is a prized vegetable each inside and out of doors of Vietnam. It goes by kangkong in Singapore and the Philippines, and kangkung in Malaysia. In North America, it’s generally referred to as ong choy (its Cantonese identify), in addition to water or river spinach (regardless of bearing no relations to the spinach household—certainly, it’s the stems of the morning glory flower that’s grown as a preferred decorative plant). This vining aquatic plant with hole stems and slender pointed leaves is cultivated extensively and might develop at a rapid speed of four inches a day.
Its delicate vegetal notice, tender leaves, and crisp stems make it an ideal candidate for stir-frying, because it readily takes on the flavors it’s cooked with, whether or not it is fermented shrimp paste, sambal, or oyster sauce. In addition to stir-frying, it may be boiled (its cooking liquid repurposed right into a soup), slipped right into a salad, or pickled. The uncooked stems will be shredded into superb threads to garnish noodles and scorching pots. In folkloric poems, a bowl of morning glory soup evokes nostalgia and homesickness.
My model of rau muống xào thịt bò begins with making the crispy garlic sprinkles that high the dish, an innovation I realized from the Oakland-based chef Tu David Phu. Then I exploit the garlic-infused oil to rapidly sear the meat and set it apart earlier than persevering with with the greens.
There are a pair attainable methods to go about this stir-fry. Some recipes name for blanching the greens (stems and leaves) after which surprising them in an ice bathtub earlier than stir-frying. This strategy has the benefits of pre-wilting the morning glory for faster stir-frying later and locking in its vibrant inexperienced colour. The opposite is to present the thicker stems a kick-start within the scorching pan, given their barely longer cooking time, then including the extra delicate leaves.
Testing each strategies side-by-side, my husband and I most well-liked the two-stage cooking course of, which began with stir-frying the stems in half of the sauce (a mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and water) till they softened barely, adopted by the leaves and the remaining sauce. In comparison with the blanched batch, this yielded extra flavorful greens and retained the contrasting texture of crunchy stems with tender leaves—to not point out that no extra pot or colander was wanted, a particular bonus. As with other stir-fries, the hot button is to get your entire components prepared and inside attain earlier than cooking, and work rapidly as soon as cooking has began.
Usually, a vegetable stir-fry is a part of a meal with a number of dishes, and its extra reserved taste profile makes it a great counterpart to extra boldly flavored dishes on the desk, however with the added beef and served with some steamed rice, that is substantial sufficient by itself.