Growing up in Chicago’s very small Chinatown, I experienced life as a microcosm of a southern Chinese village. In all practical matters, we were a self-contained community, with Chinese movies, shops and all manner of authentic Chinese foods. Except in winter, an assortment of colourful fresh vegetables was available. In the cold months, we made do with dried, pickled and canned vegetables.
As a child, I always enjoyed eating mustard greens, with their piquant bite. In our kitchen, the greens were simply stir-fried with salt and shreds of fresh ginger. The best part was the small tender stems.
Separate the leaves of the mustard greens from the stems and cut them into slices. Peel the stems and cut them into thin diagonal slices.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the ginger and salt. Stir-fry the mixture for 15 seconds. Then quickly throw in the prepared greens. Continue to stir-fry for 4 minutes, until the greens have wilted
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.