After gorging on pizza on our previous post, we had a very strong desire to re-balance by cooking lots of vegetables. We called around to our gourmet friend Christine and made her an offer she simply couldn’t refuse: “Join us for a trip to the Chinese Market in International City and bring Helen.” It’s hard to find good Chinese food in Dubai so she got very excited. Helen is her Irish friend who has recently moved to Dubai and having met her once, it was clear we were to be friends. We truly bonded while the three of us eyed the last dark chocolate covered strawberry at a dinner party Christine threw. She was a lady of our own hearts.
So, having secured company for a midday food adventure, we waited with bated breath, anticipating picking up things that we had no clue about. That of course is part of the fun- simply not knowing. Even so, on our last visit a few months ago, we made friends with Sui, (my variation of his name) who walked around the store with us explaining how-to-cook-what with his very limited English. He turned out to be a very useful resource and we hoped he would be on duty for this visit. The great thing about markets is that once you are interested in people and their culture, they will go all out to help you. Just be kind and speak to them nicely. Everyone has a story to tell.
SUI’S RECOMMENDATION: CHINESE FLOWERING CHIVES
We discovered these on our last visit and liked them so much that they became part of conversations..”Do you remember that lovely new Chinese vegetable…” They sort of looked like flowering chives, but were much bigger so we weren’t quite sure. This time Helen and I pinched and smelled trying to break it down, but either way, we insisted that both Christine and Helen get a bunch each for their own stir fries.
Chinese Flowering Chives,
In a wok or wide pan, heat sesame oil and saute ginger.
Add the flowering chives that have been cut diagonally into 2-inch strips
Add snow peas and keep on stirring pot since we are cooking on high heat and do not want the food to burn.
Add sliced shitake mushrooms while stirring. The pot is very hot so move quickly.
To add steam and a shot of flavour, pour some soy sauce over the veggies and stir. Oyster sauce may be added for additional flavour but we liked it just with the soy sauce.
CHEF’S NOTE: Children will never eat veggies if you serve them steamed and bland, season and spice them up and you will have the same kids asking for more. While cooking this or any stir fry, if you find the temperature of the pot getting too hot, you can remove from heat during the process if it gets too hot and you need to cool it down. You can also add a small dash of water or small portions liquids like soy sauce or stock to create some steam and lower the temperature. If you are cooking with a electric metal plate, ring or ceramic top, you may want to take pot off burner altogether because it will still retain heat even after it has been switched off.