Taiwanese Stir-fried Ong Choi (空心菜)

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Ong Choi, or Kong Shin Tsai as it’s called in Taiwanese, is by far Deniz and my favorite vegetable.  We suffered terribly living in Japan with sparse access to it.  We’d desperately search for it and only found it once or twice a year in the grocery store at highway robbery prices.  Thai restaurants would serve it, but we never could figure out where they were buying it from.  So when we moved to Hawaii and found it all over, we bought ong choi evey week and made this stir-fried ong choi with garlic dish.  We ate it weekly for 3 months, and then finally satisfied our ong choi void and went back to diversifying with other vegetables.  Here’s the basic Taiwanese stir-fried kong shin tasi recipe.  We’re also providing optional modifications to change the flavor profile a bit.  Tastes great with or without the additions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of ong choi, chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces
  • 1 T garlic, chopped
  • 3 T cooking oil
  • 1 T hot black bean paste (là dòu bàn jiàng, 辣豆瓣酱), optional
  • 1 T sweet chili paste, optional
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Heat the cooking oil in a wok on high heat.  Add the chopped garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  If adding the  bean paste and/or chili paste, add them along with the garlic.  Add the chopped ong choi and stir-fry until all the ong choi has wilted.  Turn off the heat and add salt to taste (we usually add about 1 T to the whole dish).  Stir to combine well.  Serve.

 

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