If you ever chance upon a pea shoot in the UK it will, more often than not, be the stringy bedfellow of watercress and lambs lettuce in a tangled and sweaty supermarket salad bag. Back when pubs were still a concept, it would also occasionally moonlight on an artfully decorated risotto or pea soup, placed with zealous precision by a MasterChef-watching, tweezer-wielding chef.
This makes me sad, as pea shoots are so much more than just salad fodder and a twiddly garnish. They really come into their own when cooked. Ready in minutes, simply stir-fried with slivers of garlic, toasted sesame oil and soy, they are a useful bit of ammo to add to anyone’s midweek-mealtime arsenal. So next time you need to add some speedy greenery to your Asian cooking, why not give these twiddly guys a go.
Stir-Fried Pea Shoots
Pea shoots are available in the salad section of most supermarkets and Asian shops – where they will often sell more mature, thick stemmed shoots. Alternatively you could grow your own if you have the space, time and inclination. Like spinach, pea shoots wilt right down when cooked, so don’t be tempted to cut down on the amount you buy.
- 150g pea shoots
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 2 thin slices of ginger
- 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small, hot dried chilli
- 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over a medium heat. Add the garlic and stir fry for a minute or two until the garlic turns a light golden colour. Spoon the garlic and oil into a small, heatproof bowl and set aside – be careful not to take the garlic too dark as it will continue to fry in the oil once out of the wok.
Add the vegetable oil to the wok and add the ginger slices and dried chilli. Stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant before adding the pea shoots and a couple of tablespoons of water. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the pea shoots have wilted down. Sprinkle over the soy sauce, transfer to a serving dish and drizzle over the garlic and oil.
Serves 2 as a side dish