Essential Weeknight Recipe: Thai Stir-Fried Greens with Oyster Sauce

Thai stir-fried greens have been in my weeknight cooking repertoire since I began cooking. It's the first Thai dish I ever prepared that tasted straight-outta-Thai-Town authentic, and it's so simple, I make it — usually with rice and a Thai omelet — whenever I want a quick, flavorful dinner with lots of healthy leafy greens.
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I typically use some variety of sturdy Asian green vegetable, like Chinese broccoli or yu choy sum, pictured above. Broccolini or rapini would work well, but I avoid very watery greens like bok choy or tatsoi, which dilute the flavor.

Lots of garlic is essential, as are the two key ingredients for the sauce: oyster sauce and fish sauce. Look for brands without any unfamiliar additives; it really does make a difference in the finished stir-fry.

As with most stir-fries, once the ingredients are prepped, cooking takes just a few minutes. Straight out of the pan, the vegetables are bright green, tender and glazed with garlicky sauce. Even after a decade of cooking it, I'm still excited to sit down to this particular plate, every time.

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Thai Stir-Fried Greens

Makes 2-3 servings

1 bunch Chinese broccoli, rapini, or other sturdy green
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Wash the broccoli and shake off excess water. (You want some water still clinging to the leaves, as that will help with the cooking process.) Chop the stalks into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces.

In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce, water, fish sauce and sugar.

Heat a wok or large skillet over a high flame. Swirl in the oil. Add the garlic and stir briefly, until sizzling and fragrant. If the stalks are very thick, add them to the pan first, stirring for 1-2 minutes before adding the leaves. Otherwise, add both stalks and leaves to the pan, followed by the sauce. Stir and toss the vegetables frequently until the leaves are wilted and the stalks are tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Additional Notes:
• You can add a protein like shrimp, chicken or tofu to the stir-fry. Increase the amount of sauce and stir-fry the protein for a few minutes before adding the garlic.

• Although I like this recipe best with dark green, leafy, slightly bitter vegetables, the sauce will work with virtually any sturdy vegetable (cauliflower, carrots, celery, etc.), so feel free to mix it up.

Related: Help Me Make Better Egg Stir-Fry

(Images: Anjali Prasertong)

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