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Friday, March 15, 2013

Stir Fried Snow Pea Sprouts 清炒豆苗

Something green to balance the blog! I'm generally a big fan of greens, but these snow pea sprouts are not something that I have come to adore all along. It's pretty much one of the many things that I didn't know how to appreciate when I was a kid and only learned to do so growing up years later. I wonder if this change in taste is one of the things that really comes with age lol.

These snow pea sprouts are the immature tips of the snow pea plants, harvested when they have just started blooming and growing, before the reach the maturity level of a shoot even. This is how the cultivation is according to my own understanding (and please do correct me if it's wrong in any ways) - seedlings > sprouts > shoots > full grown plants where you get the snow pea pods. Interesting...

A delicacy in many places, these snow pea sprouts do not come cheap. Relatively, I mean. Which, is kinda justifiable considering how they are specially cultivated for the sprouts and shoots, and never the mature plants for the pods. Price aside, these are microgreens springing with life, naturally packed with flavors and loaded with nutrients. High in protein and fiber with negligible calories, they're all just too good to be true, are they not?

Young and tender, they hardly need much time exposed to heat to get them cooked and ready to be served. My definition to a plate of snow pea sprouts well done - it retains its natural tenderness with a crunch and a tad of nutty flavor. I personally like them stir fried with garlic, loadsa garlic to be exact lol. Healthy, tasty and refreshing, these sprouts with a vibrant green is just perfect in spicing up and balancing a meal, anytime!

Stir Fried Snow Pea Sprouts 清炒豆苗 
Serves 2-3
1/2lb snow pea sprouts, rinsed clean and drained
1/4lb ground pork
7 cloves garlic, minced
salt and white pepper powder to taste
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water for thickening
2 tbsps cooking oil

Meat marinade 
a dash or two of white pepper powder
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch

1. Marinate the ground pork with the marinade slightly in advance. Leave refrigerated until cooking time.

2. Heat a tbsp of cooking oil in a wok over high heat. Add in half of the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant, looking slightly browned. Bring in the snow pea sprouts and sprinkle in some salt with a few dashes of white pepper powder. Give it a few quick tosses, dry frying the pea sprouts for about a minute. If it appears to be too dry, sprinkle in some water. Dish out and set aside.
3. Heat up the wok with the remaining cooking oil over high. Add in the remaining minced garlic and again stir fry until aromatic. Bring in the marinated meat. Stir fry until the color changes, breaking into smaller pieces in the process. Add in 1/4 cup of water, bring to boil. Add in salt to taste. Thicken slightly with the corn starch slurry.
4. Bring the snow pea sprouts back into the wok. Briefly and quickly toss to mix.

5. Remove from heat, dish out and serve hot. It matters not if the sprouts do not appear to be fully cooked at this point. The heat will continue to wilt them down a little further.

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