Thursday, 21 May 2009

Pea Shoots (Dau Miu) & Onion Greens

I'm very frustrated by the fact that I can't find proper Chinese style pea shoots (dau miu) that are locally grown. There is absolutely no reason why not. They are produced by letting snow pea plants grow to a few inches to a foot high, then you start snipping off the tenderest sprouting ends just as the leaves begin to form or open, long before peas or even blossoms form. The result is thicker and more tender than what I can find, which is basically newly sprouted peas that have been snipped as they get up to about 4 inches.

I got some local pea sprouts of that variety and used them for this; they were adequate but the leaves lacked substance and the stems were a bit stringy. Never mind; we've planted snow peas (kind of late as we had to dig the bed first) and hopefully in a couple weeks we'll have our own home-grown dau miu. And budding market gardeners out there, take note: dau miu is an early spring vegetable you should be producing! It's early, it's fairly easy, and it should command a decent price - at least you pay a good chunk of change to eat dau miu in Chinese restaurants; more than for most vegetables. Mind you, they won't store well, but I doubt they're any worse than spinach that way.

2 servings
15 minutes prep time

Pea Shoots and Onion Greens
4 cups pea shoots (dau miu)
1 cup chopped green oniony stuff (garlic shoots, chives, green onions, shallot shoots, etc)
1 teaspoon arrowroot or corn starch
1 tablspoon oyster sauce or soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil

Rinse the pea shoots and drain them well. Rinse and coarsely chop your green oniony stuff; I used a mix of green onions, chives and shallot greens. If the green onions have white parts, chop them a bit finer and keep them separate.

Mix the starch, oyster or soy sauce and water in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a good sized skillet, when hot, add the green onions. If you have some white parts of the onions, start them a minute or two earlier than the rest. Otherwise, as soon as the oniony greens start to be soft, add the pea shoots. Stir up the mixture in the bowl and add it as well. Stir or mix the vegetables as they cook, until they are well wilted and the sauce has thickened. Remove them from the heat and serve at once. The whole cooking process won't take much more than 3 or 4 minutes.

You may find you need to add a little more water as the veggies cook, depending on how dry the pea shoots were when they went in.

Last year at this time I made Spaghetti with Eggy Herb Sauce and Lemon-Ginger Sweet Potatoes.


Joanne said...

I've never seen any kind of pea shoots in the store, let alone dau miu. I really like the flavors in this recipe, however. I'll have to try it with spinach until I can find the shoots.

Ferdzy said...

Well dau miu are kind of like a cross between peas and spinach in flavour, so spinach will do in a pinch. If you've got good Chinese restaurants around, they probably serve them, although not exactly like this.

Elizabeth said...

I don't think I've ever seen pea shoots (local or not) for sale at the market but they must be there.

I adore dau miu but have only ever had it in restaurants. Thanks for posting your recipe. Maybe by a miracle someone at our weekly farmers' market will be selling pea shoots. (We'd try growing them ourselves if we could but we don't have enough sun in our very shady tiny garden.)


Ferdzy said...

I've tried growing them in a pot, and it worked, but it was a loo-oo-oong wait for a single meals' worth of dau miu. Guess we just need to nag our farmers.