Stir Fry Xiao Bai Cai with Fried Tau Kee
My wife got this Xiao Bai Cai from the local vegetable seller and almost sworn by the product. I thought it was funny that she should be feeling this way about vegetable, I mean I usually don’t gush about my groceries. But I guess it was not without good reason. The Xiao Bai Cai that we usually get at the supermarket are usually quite sandy and would require a lot of soaking and washing.
For some reason the supplier didn’t want to disturb the plant so much after it was harvested, and so it was not washed or treated with anything (actually I am not sure if it was treated with anything or not). I always thought vegetables should be packed the same way after they are being harvested. But that said, there are different suppliers and also different ways to grow vegetables these days.
Maybe this Xiao Bai Cai was grown hydroponically at some local farm nearby my house? Anyway, we were both quite pleased with the vegetables as it meant less washing and scrubbing in between the stems and that we could quickly give it a good rinse and cut it up for frying.
1 packet of Xiao Bai Cai
2 pieces of Fried Tau Kee (these usually comes with fish paste in between the layers)
3-4 cloves of Garlic (crushed not minced)
3-4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Thai Fish Sauce
1. Wash and rinse Xiao Bai Cai thoroughly, making sure there is no sand or debris in between the stems. (Good habit to wash vegetables even though you know they were grown hydroponically. There could be worms or whatever creepy crawlies sometimes, so better to be safe.)
2. Chop them up into bite size pieces. This allows for easy cooking, and also easier to eat. (Of course, you would know that already.) Also, shred the Fried Tau Kee into thin strips.
3. Heat 3-4 tbsp of Olive Oil in the wok/pan. Make sure the oil is hot by turning up the heat to high. Fry the garlic pieces, giving them a quick stir to prevent the garlic from burning. Do this until the garlic pieces are fragrant and start to brown. Then add in the shredded Fried Tau Kee pieces. Fry until you smell the tau kee pieces (sorry don’t know how else better to explain this part). After that, reserve the garlic and fried tau kee pieces in a plate while you cook the vegetables.
4. You generally would want more oil so that the vegetables will cook better and not burn. So if need be, add more oil. (I say more oil because I like to fry my vegetables using high heat, and oil helps to prevent the vegetables from burning. I find that the vegetables cooks evenly that way, so that works for me. I know it is unhealthy to use so much oil.)
5. Next with the remainder oil in the work, fry the stems first as these tend to take a while to cook, and once they are cooked, then add the rest of the vegetables in to continue to fry. Remember to do the pan flip method. Quickly drizzle the Thai Fish Sauce over the vegetables and continue to pan flip the vegetables. The searing sound of the vegetables burning along the sides of the pan would ensure that it is cooked evenly. (At least that’s how I would cook it. Sometimes stirring it with the wooden spatula doesn’t mix the vegetables or the sauce that well.)
6. After that, put the reserved ingredients (garlic and fried tau kee) and continue to do the pan flip method. Once you have mixed the ingredients well, cover the vegetables with the lid and allow it to steam for a few minutes. This would soften the vegetables and allow the fish sauce to mix in well. That’s it.