Asparagus in Stock

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Homestyle Chinese Cooking

Homestyle Chinese Cooking

By Yan-Kit So

Published 1997

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A delicate vegetable like asparagus needs equally delicate culinary treatment. Steeping it in stock does just that, enhancing its inherent sweetness while preserving its pure taste.


  • 1 pound medium-sized asparagus, cleaned
  • 1ΒΌ cups concentrated but clear chicken or ham stock
  • Β½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon stock
  • 4 thin slices fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2-3 scallions, cut into 1-inch sections, white and green parts separated


  • Chop off and discard the hard end of each asparagus stem. Halve the remainder. Split vertically halfway down the thicker bottom half, ensuring more even cooking.
  • Pour the stock into the wok and bring it to a boil. Add the salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the asparagus, return to a boil, then continue to cook over a gentle heat for about 3 minutes. Carefully transfer the asparagus and stock to a bowl and leave the asparagus to steep in the stock for about 1-2 hours. The asparagus will be tender, yet still have a bite to them. Then lift them out of the stock onto a dish.
  • Stir the dissolved cornstarch into half of the stock, saving the remainder for another use.
  • Reheat the cleaned wok over a high heat until smoke rises. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and swirl it around. Add the ginger, stir, then add the white scallions. Lowering the heat to medium, return the asparagus to the wok and stir until thoroughly hot. Pour in the well-stirred stock, continuing to stir as it thickens. Mix in the green scallions, then transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.

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