Peking cabbage, or Chinese leaves, was one of the most available Chinese vegetables in Chicago’s Chinatown grocers. A hardy vegetable, it is easy to grow in large quantities on small plots. Most of my Chinese-American friends remember this as a regular part of their families’ home cooking.
The leaves have a mild but distinct taste, and a sweetness that is enhanced the more they are cooked. My mother often simply stir-fried them with dried prawns, as in this recipe. I suggest soaking the dried prawns in rice wine to give them an added dimension.
Cut the Chinese leaves into 4 cm (
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 garlic, then the prawns and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Dump in the blanched cabbage and the rice wine and continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes. Season the mixture with the salt and pepper. Finally, toss in the spring onions and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.