Stir fried water spinach and store bought dumplings for #easytastygood dinner


Oft times when it is really warm out I don’t do much.

I might sit in the pool for a bit, tighten a screw or oil a hinge (not a euphemism) and maybe watch a show, but that’s pretty much it.

I can’t even be bothered to write very much words.

I just cannot be assed.

But let’s face it; I’ve still gotta eat. Me going a day without food is like a Quentin Tarantino film without Samuel L. in it – highly fucking unlikely.

So, when it inevitably comes time to prepare our evening meal on said days I like to stay in character and stick with the whole “not doing much” theme.

This dinner is classic “not doing much”; store bought dumplings and sauces steamed and served with a really quick stir-fried water spinach number.

Piss easy enough for even you to not work up a sweat on a day like today.

Water spinach AKA morning glory, AKA kang kong, is one of my favourite things to put in a hot wok. It is quite simply just some tasty tasty shit. When we were in Vietnam and Laos it was sold as “morning glory” and was available at just about every restaurant and roadside stall we came across. Now I have a little trouble admitting this but I loved it. There you go. Never once in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be admitting to the world that someone’s morning glory was one of my favourite things ever to put in my mouth… but it was.

This shit is damn well addictive. Even if you don’t like greens just try this… at the very least it might give a little life to your pasty little poster-boy-for-serving-fruit-and-vegetables-in-the-school-canteen demeanor and maybe get a little blood flowing down stairs so that poor little thing can get a little rigid again.

Eat it.

I’m out.

The ubiquitous "before" shot
The ubiquitous “before” shot
Get it on the table
Get it on the table
One more quick look before totally destroying it
One more quick look before totally destroying it
A better view of the water spinach number. Pretty sexy shit, eh
A better view of the water spinach number. Pretty sexy shit, eh

STIR FRIED WATER SPINACH WITH OYSTER SAUCE, GARLIC AND SOY (serves 4 as a side)

1 large bunch water spinach (this shit will wilt down a fair bit), sliced into 4-5cm pieces
2 spring onions/shallots, sliced into 2cm lengths
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat edge of a knife
½ tablespoon each oyster sauce and light soy sauce
vegetable oil for frying

• Add a splash of oil to a wok or decent sized pan and get it plenty hot
• Add the water spinach, spring onions and garlic and toss for a minute
• Add the sauces and toss for another minute
• Have a little taste to check for seasoning, add a little more soy if you need some more salty
• Put it on the table with a few steamed dumplings, those sticky rice and pork parcels wrapped up in banana leaves (possibly one of the sexiest of items on the dim sum trolley… the banana leaf , once gently and seductively pulled aside, reveals a sticky, soft, yielding mound of ricey porky goodness… dear good lord I’m getting myself excited…) and a heap of condiments; sriracha chilli sauce is a good start, soy sauce, chilli in soy bean oil, kimchi, something else that you can’t read the label of but grabbed anyway, etc. you get the idea.
• Go fourth, eat water spinach and dumplings and be happy

A close up of the glutinous rice and pork in banana leaf porn
A close up of the glutinous rice and pork in banana leaf porn

the farmers market

FARMERS MARKET SHOPPING

 

As of next week I am going to start a weekly farmers market recipe post from my local farmers markets. I am in the Northern Rivers NSW so it may not be applicable to where you are but it’ll be a crackin’ read anyway. So keep your face peeled….

 

Farmers market is not a dirty word. Or words.

 

Farmers markets are a great way to shop. You support your local community, low food miles (the distance it travels to get to you, if you couldn’t work that one out for yourself), artisan producers and quite often free-range and organic produce.

It is also not uncommon to see unsual or uncommon items… or it’s quite common to see uncommon items… duck sausages, okra, three legged chickens, water spinach, banana blossom, dutch cream potatoes, goats cheese and hobbit-like dwarves selling Fleetwood Mac tickets are all available at my local farmers market at the moment. Not really sure what the hobbit people are all about, though. And they always seem to have fantastic bread, fruit and vegetables, pork, seafood and some other shite.

 

Get in there and give it a go. I’ll be the guy pushing into the queue behind you. Say hi.

So, a little etiquette for shopping at a farmers market.

  1. Take cash. Most market stalls will not have eftpos. The are farmers ok? They find it hard enough to scrape a livelihood together without having to buy a wireless eftpos machine.
  2. Don’t look for shopping trollies. There are none. You couldn’t push it around the grass or dodgy carpark someone kindly donated to hold this thing on. Bring your own bag to pile full of goodies. You got something knitted from dessert camel’s fur bring it. The hippier the better.
  3. If a sausage is an odd shape, or a loaf of bread a little crusty, it is not actually odd or crusty. It’s artisan. That’s the thing with small producers – they don’t have a massive production line, or feed lots etc, so it can be a little harder to get a consistant product. And it can be a hard thing to come to terms with, especially as a chef. But if the product is good….
  4. The best before date is usually a bit shorter because of the lack of preservatives, and the bacon and ham make look a little greyer then you’re used to, but that’s because it doesn’t have any sodium nitrate* in it. These are all good things, by the way.
  5. PS. They don’t have big glossy sales.
  6. PPS. You don’t get flybys or everyday rewards either.

 

*sodium nitrate. Apparently used to prevent botulism but is very bad for you. But so is botulism.