Browsing in my local supermarket the other day, I spotted a living salad tray that contained Chinese spinach. It’s not something I have ever encountered before, and in truth it’s not actually that different from the ‘regular’ spinach you find on supermarket shelves, though it does release a deliciously earthy liquor when it is wilted down. This makes it an ideal choice for a stir-fry, where all that flavour can be used to enhance the sauce.
If you can’t find Chinese spinach, use ordinary spinach, or substitute it for pak choi.
RECIPE serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter
2 tbsp groundnut oil
3 fat garlic cloves, finely sliced
4 birds-eye chillies, finely sliced
200g Chinese spinach (or pak choi) roughly chopped
16 large, raw king prawns, tails on
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 whole dried red chillies, crumbled
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Prepare all the ingredients before you begin to cook. Things happen quickly when you stir-fry so you need to be organised.
Put the oil in a cold wok with the garlic, and heat it up over a high heat – this will flavour the oil and protect the garlic from burning while it releases its flavour. When the garlic is golden, add the birds-eye chillies and spinach (or pak choi) and cook for about a minute, keeping things moving all the time.
Now add the prawns, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes, keeping it all moving, until the prawns are just cooked.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the dried chilli flakes, spring onion and sesame oil, toss together and serve immediately accompanied by steamed Basmati rice or your choice of noodles.