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Adventures in the Kitchen and on the Road

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Stir-Fried Pea Pod Stems with Garlic

Several years ago, on one of her visits, my mom left me with a bag of fresh pea pod stems. "What am I supposed to do with this?" I wondered. She said it was very simple (everything in the kitchen is very simple to her it seems). "Just stir-fry some garlic, then the leaves and some salt. That's it!" I was doubtful since really I thought the joy is in the pea pods, not the stems. But I hate wasting food so I cooked it up and was surprised to find that it tasted really good. I forgot about it after that. The leaves had come from my mom's garden and I had assumed it was a dish that she came up with to make use of as much of the plant as possible. It didn't occur to me that I could get this at a restaurant.

Fast-forward several years and I'm browsing chowhound.com and noticing lots of posts extolling the tastiness of pea pod stems. So I went to a Chinese restaurant, saw it on the menu and was happy to find that yes, it was the same thing and they cooked it even better than my first attempt. More good news is on the way. It turns out that you can buy fresh pea pod stems in Asian grocery stores. Good thing...in the restaurant, the dish seems to range from $10-12. At the grocery store, the leaves were $5 per pound so a medium to big bag of it was about $3.50. Simple and quick to prepare. The tender leaves shrink down pretty quickly so be careful not to overcook them. After several attempts, I think I've finally got it down. The trickiest part for me was salting...I kept under-salting.

If you order it at a restaurant, ask for chao3 dou4 miao2 (I think that's how you write it in pinyin). It's pronounced kinda like 'chow dough meow'. Really yummy and good for you too!

small photo of stir-fried pea pod stems with garlic

fresh pea pod stems before cooking

Stir-fried Pea Pod Stems with Garlic
8 oz fresh, tender pea leaves
2 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Wash the pea leaves and discard any coarse stems and wilted leaves; set aside.

  2. Heat pan on high then add the oil and swirl around. Add the garlic and sizzle for a few seconds.

  3. Add the pea leaves. Stir-fry briskly for a couple of minutes until just wilted.

  4. Add salt to taste.

finished dish of stir-fried pea pod stems with garlic

thread in vegrecipes

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Your journal makes me hungry, and unsatisfied with the Tim Horton's crap I normally eat. ;_;

Thanks! Tim Horton's sells food? I thought they were a coffee place.

They sell sandwiches and soup and chili and of course bagels and pastries, at least here. I don't know if they're different in the States. There aren't that many of them in the States, correct? I know there's a reason I never go over the border...

Their food is actually pretty good, except that I'm picky, and everytime they have a sandwich I like, they keep it around for six months, then pull it off their menu. Jerks.

I don't know what they have in the U.S. since I don't drink coffee and thus never went into a Tim Horton's since I assumed they would just be selling coffee. If they keep pulling your sandwiches off the menu, maybe you need to bulk order a ton of them so they figure out that you want them to keep that sandwich on the menu :)

That picture of them cooked is gorgeous and is making my mouth water.

Why thank you. Given how many times you've made me stare longingly at your food photos, it's only fair that I get to try to do the same.

That is amazing! I've never heard of eating peo pod stems/leaves. Does it taste like peas?

It doesn't seem to taste that strongly of peas. Maybe it is? I don't know. I just know I love the taste. The tender leaves and the slightest crunch to the stems make for great mouthfeel too.

It's one of my favorite chinese veggies. I had no idea what it was called in English! :D

One of my favorites now too! Which other Chinese vegetables are among your favorites?

I like choy sum, buddha's hand squash, winter melon, lotus root. MMmmm..

I think lotus root is the only other one I really recognize. More vegetables for me to explore!

mmm, that sounds so good. i definitely need to visit an asian grocery store soon.

Yes indeed. Besides getting cool things, the prices are usually cheaper too.

That looks outstanding. I have not seen that in any of the restaurants here. However i have seen the cooks make it for themselves after they closed.
I'm gonna have to find an asian grocery and make some today.

I bet if you asked for it, they'd be happy to cook up a plate for your table too. Let me know if you try it!

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