Asparagus with Chinese Black Mushrooms

Asparagus is a vegetable which readily combines with many other foods in the most congenial fashion. Here, it is joined with fleshy, smokey Chinese dried mushrooms, with both vegetables absorbing the essences of each other and of the sauce. I suggest that, if available, you use a larger variety of asparagus. This is a wholesome and satisfying dish, easy to prepare and, with rice, a meal in itself.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) large asparagus
  • 25 g (1 oz) Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water

Method

Cut the asparagus diagonally into 5 cm (2 in) lengths, discarding the hard woody ends.

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Cut off the stalks and discard them.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over moderate heat and add the oil. Put in the garlic, salt and asparagus and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the stock and mushrooms and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked. Add the soy sauce and blended cornflour and continue to cook until the sauce has been reduced to a glaze. Give the mixture a final stir, turn onto a platter and serve at once.

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