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Yu choy sum on a plate with rice.

Easy Yu Choy Sum

Ellen
Sweet, tender and nutritious, Chinese yu choy (a.k.a choy sum) is a delicious vegetable dish you’ve got to try. Top them in a bowl of noodles or as a side dish with a protein of your choice. Blanched or stir fried, yu choy is so easy to make it might just become your weekly dinner staple.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Cantonese, Chinese
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • carbon steel wok (for stir frying)
  • large stock pot (for blanching)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb yu choy (yu choy sprouts or regular)

For Blanching

  • 10 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tsp sugar (brown or white)
  • 3 tsp kosher salt (for salting the water)
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce (for serving)

For Stir Frying

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (optional)
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Clean and rinse yu choy two or three times in a basin of water. Shake the leaves and stems to loosen dirt, paying close attention to where the leaves and stems meet.
  • Place yu choy in a colander.

Blanching Instructions

  • In a large stock pot, add the water, oil, sugar and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add the yu choy. Make sure all the leaves and stems are fully submerged in water.
  • When water comes back to a boil, cook for 2-4 minutes. Sample one stem to check for doneness. (Note 5)
  • When fully cooked, place yu choy on a plate. Pour out any excess water. (Note 4)
  • Serve with oyster sauce (for dipping) on the side.

Stir Frying Instructions

  • After cleaning yu choy, shake out as much excess water as possible. Take handfuls and shake them out individually placing each handful in the wok cover. Then repeat, putting them back in the colander.
  • Heat oil in wok on medium/high heat until starting to smoke. (Note 1)
  • (Skip to the next step if not using garlic) Add minced garlic and toss until fragrant (about 20 seconds) making sure not to burn.
  • Place yu choy in 3-4 batches carefully in the wok. Flip and coat the leaves between batches. Leaves will immediately start to wilt allowing more yu choy to be added. (Note 2 & 3)
  • Once all yu choy is added, add a pinch of salt, soy sauce and sugar.
  • Sautee for another 30 seconds mixing thoroughly. Add broth/water, cover and lower heat to medium.
  • Steam for 3-5 minutes. Stir halfway through (for even cooking). (Note 4)
  • Sample a stem to check for doneness. Cook a bit longer if needed. (Note 5)
  • Add oyster sauce and sesame oil (if using). Toss to coat.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Notes:

Note 1: Use a stainless steel pan if you don't have a wok.  I would cook the yu choy in two batches as to not overcrowd the pan.
Note 2: Don’t heat your oil above med/high heat to avoid burning the delicate leaves.  If your leaves are starting to brown, lower the heat.
Note 3:  It's important to dry your yu choy properly before stir frying.  This avoids oil splatter when the yu choy is placed in the hot pan.  If the vegetables are too wet, there will be a lot of sizzling when it hits the hot wok and hot oil sprays.  Be careful!
Note 4:  Yu choy will shrink and wilt pretty quickly.  Like spinach, cooked yu choy will reduce to half its size if not more.
Note 5:  The times laid out in the recipe are approximations and really depends on how hot your stove is and your portion size.  Yu choy sprouts will cook faster.  A smaller portion will also cook faster.  Don’t walk away from the stove while the yu choy cooks and sample a stem to check for doneness to your preference.  This is definitely a "season and taste" to your liking type of dish!

Substitutions/Variations

Gluten free:  Substitute soy sauce with gluten free soy sauce or tamari.
Vegan:  Substitute oyster sauce with hoisin sauce.  If using hoisin sauce I would omit the sugar since hoisin is sweet.
My mother and grandparents actually prefer choy sum stir fried with just salt to taste the natural flavours of the yu choy.  Give it a try if you're missing these seasonings and just adjust the salt.  It's always really delicious!
Keyword choy sum, yu choy
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