Yu Choy looks a lot like the Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan), except that the Yu Choy stalks are skinnier and the flowers are yellow (Gai Lan has white flowers). This vegetable is tender, the taste of the leaves are very much like spinach leaves, even though it is part of the mustard family. Fresh Yu-Choy has small tight yellow flowers, bright green leaves and stems, and if you look at the bottom of the bunch of stems, they should not be dried out.
(photo from www.worldcrops.org)
My mom always taught me to cook fresh greens simply and quickly. This way the delicate greens are not swimming in salty or sweet sauce, where you can’t taste the vegetable at all. When the Yu Choy is fresh, you don’t even need salt or sugar – the chicken broth will add enough saltiness.
Chinese Greens (Yu Choy) Stir Fry Recipe
Ingredients:1 pound Chinese greens (called yu choy), cut into 3-inch lengths
4 -6 cloves garlic, whole
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1. Heat the oil in your wok until hot. Turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic cloves to the oil and fry until the cloves are golden brown (but not burnt!). This will flavor the oil.
2. Add the Yu Choy, stir so that each stalk gets a light coating of the garlic-flavored oil. Add the chicken broth and immediately cover. Let the vegetable steam for 3 1/2 minutes until tender. The Yu Choy should still be bright green, the stalks should be soft and still have a nice bite to it.
Notes: When cooking fresh vegetables like this, the heat of your wok should stay at medium to medium-high. If the heat is too hot, the broth may evaporate too quickly and your vegetables may burn. To low, and your vegetables will cook too slowly and you will lose your bright green coloring of the vegetable. You can cook other vegetables the same way, just adjust the amount of broth you add accordingly. Thicker stems need more broth and more steam time. If you are like me, and you love to eat soft, tender, mild garlic cloves, you can add more cloves. Because they are toasted in the oil and then cooked with the vegetables, the garlic turns into a sweet nugget of flavor without the sting of minced garlic.