Stir-Fried Asian Greens With Minced Garlic

Serves: 4 to 6 

Stir-frying in a light soy and garlic sauce flavored is a great way to cook Asian greens. Quick, simple, and flavorful, it's hard to go wrong, no matter which greens you decide to cook. There’s a long list of Chinese greens that work great, such as choy sum, kai lan, Chinese broccoli, bok choy, and watercress — even Western vegetables like kale, collards, swiss chard, frisée, or—belive it or not—romaine and iceberg lettuce are good, as well.


1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon water

6 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 pound choy sum, roughly chopped (or other greens of your choice — delicate to thick)

2 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or peanut oil


1. In a small bowl combine the ground white pepper powder, soy sauce, salt, cornstarch, sesame oil, and water together. Mix well and add the minced garlic (see note below). Set aside.

2. If the greens you’re using are thick stemmed, such as chou sum, kai lan or bok choy, you should chop the lower, thick stems off the greens and blanch them to help tenderize. If they are thick-leafed greens, such as collard or kale, rough-chop the entire leaves and blanch. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the greens and cook until bright green, about 40 seconds. Drain well. Delicate greens, like spinach, baby kai lan or dao miao, don’t require blanching.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until shimmering. Add the greens, stir, and season with a few pinches of salt. Continue to cook while stirring regularly until soft and wilted. Push the greens away from the center of the wok (see note below). Stir the sauce and add it to the center. Once it starts bubbling, combine it with the greens. Season to taste with more salt as desired. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Note: For a milder garlic flavor, do not add garlic to sauce in step 1. During step 3, before adding sauce, add the garlic to the wok and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the sauce and continue as directed.