Sunday 8 November 2015


Chinese Stir-Fry Vegetable - Caixin

From my mum, May Loh's recipe
Serves 3

Preparation & Cook Time: 30 minutes

1. 800g caixin
2. 1 clove garlic minced
3. 3 oyster mushrooms cut in strips (optional)
4. 1 TBS oyster sauce (optional)
5. Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat canola cooking oil on wok, add garlic and fry until golden.
2. Add mushrooms and fry until golden.
3. Add caixin and quickly stir-fry for a short while until it is no longer raw and well mixed.
4. Add salt & pepper to taste.
5. Add oyster sauce and mix well.
6. Dish up and serve immediately with rice. Do not overcook, otherwise it will not be crunchy.

Additional Information:
This is a 家常便饭 - a classic dish my mum used to serve for dinner during my childhood. Typically in her 3-course dinner, which consists of a vegetable, meat and soup served with rice, the vegetable would be caixin. Caixin is a Chinese green-leaf vegetable readily available in Singapore. It used to be very cheap, but a very nutritious green vegetables.

Although without much education, my mum is very good with food and nutrition. She continued to teach herself to read after primary school and she would be reading and gaining knowledge from reading the Chinese newspaper. Even though we were poor, my mum was very good in picking out those food that are nutritious and yet cheap, like this vegetables. While the rich Chinese kids in Singapore were having Chinese tonics such as ginseng, goji berries, bird nest, black chicken soup, we gained our nutrition from these humble vegetables which are packed with nutrition and cooked freshly daily by my mum. All of us three children grew up well, I think a large part was due to my mum always making fresh, nutritious, healthy and tasty food everyday.

Even then, I didn't always appreciate it as a child. I used to be very fussy and picky about food. Like most children, I disliked green leafy vegetables. As I was cooking this dish with J, I could literally hear my mum telling me, "Ah girl, this is very good for you, lots of vitamins and very nutritious. You should learn to eat it."

As I grew up, I fell in love eating this dish. Moving away from home to Copenhagen, this is one of the dishes that I miss most

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6.

This was true with me with regards to this dish. The healthy eating habits I have today, I have picked it up from my mother, although I didn't appreciate so much as a child.

It is available from the "Chinatown" here, costing 20 DKK per packet, which was 10 times more expensive than Singapore when I first moved to Denmark 14 years ago. It was such a delicacy for me to eat this in Copenhagen, but no longer so over the years. This is because, over the years, the price has come down over the years in Chinatown, while it is getting more expensive in Singapore.

I made this dish with J today. I am passing down the baton to J, for him to know his heritage. I am recording this dish for the future generations of our family.

This post is also tribute to my mother. To be able to manage a small household budget and yet to take care of the nutrition of your family is not easy, but she did such an amazing job.

Cut off the end of each stalk.

Cut into 2 inch pieces. Here is a video demonstration:

Wash, rinse and drain caixin.

Cut oyster mushrooms into strips.

Cut garlic lengthwise.

Cut garlic breadth-wise.

Heat 1 TBS canola cooking oil on pan on high heat.

Add garlic and fry until golden.

Add mushrooms.

Fry until fragrant.

Add caixin.

Stir well until it is no longer raw.

Add 1 pinch salt and stir.

Add 1 TBS oyster sauce and mix well (optional).

Sprinkle some ground pepper.

Off the heat and dish up so that the Caixin remains crunchy. Do not overcook.

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