Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce

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A super simple Choy Sum recipe that uses 5 ingredients to create a scrumptious side dish in 15 minutes. The choy sum is blanched until tender, then drizzled with a garlicky sauce that is savory and lightly sweet. It is a perfect dish to add nutrition and vibrant color to your dinner table. {Vegan}

Blanched choy sum with garlic sauce

If you’re lucky enough to live near an Asian market, you might have seen a great variety of Asian greens. They might all look the same and have obscure names. If you want to learn more about how to cook with Asian greens to eat healthier, you’ve come to the right place!

A while ago, I shared a post thoroughly introducing Chinese greens and how to use them. Today I want to show you a super quick recipe to make delicious choy sum.

Homemade choy sum with garlic sauce

What is Choy Sum

Choy sum, or 菜心 (Cai xin), is a very popular leafy green we consume regularly in China. It has a texture that’s somewhere between Chinese broccoli and baby bok choy. It has a look that is similar to that of Chinese broccoli, but the stalk is less meaty. More often than not, you will see them at the market bearing yellow flowers (they’re edible, but taste slightly bitter). Once cooked, its texture is quite similar to that of bok choy.

Uncooked choy sum

Sauce

It is very common to use a simple soy sauce or oyster sauce to season a dish like this. However, since I discovered Chee Hou sauce (or Chu hou sauce) when I made the Instant Pot braised beef, I couldn’t get enough of it! So I decided to use it in this dish.

Chee Hou sauce is a thick brown sauce that is similar to oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, with a sweet and salty level in between the two. It is also vegan. 

I found that Chee Hou sauce is a perfect plant-based replacement for oyster sauce, because it tastes so much better than the other vegan oyster sauces I’ve tried.

On the other hand, if you only have oyster sauce on hand, feel free to use it (maybe with a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar) to replace the Chee Hou sauce in this recipe.

Blanched choy sum served with a brown sauce

How to cook choy sum

Choy sum stalks are quite long and they come in big batches, so it can be a bit tricky to fit them in a frying pan. I found that the best approach is to blanch it, then drizzle it with an aromatic sauce.

Blanching

To prepare choy sum:

  1. Cook the choy sum in boiling water briefly
  2. Stop the cooking using an ice bath or running tap water
  3. Pat the stalks dry with paper towels
How to blanch choy sum

Make the sauce

Once you have cooked the choy sum, prepare the sauce by:

  1. Sauteing some garlic in oil, then
  2. Pouring the sauce mixture into the oil and cooking it to thicken
How to make garlic sauce

Then all you need to do is to pour the delicious sauce onto the plated veggies and you’re good to go!

It might look like a lot of veggies, but I promise you, the taste will be so great that you will finish the plate in no time. The first time I made it, I used almost 2 lbs (900 g) of choy sum, hoping to have some leftovers. But my husband and I loved it so much that we easily finished it in one go!

Blanched choy sum served with a brown sauce

More delicious Chinese veggie recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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A super simple Choy Sum recipe that uses 5 ingredients to create a scrumptious side dish in 20 minutes. The choy sum is blanched until tender, then drizzled with a garlicky sauce that is savory and lightly sweet. It is a perfect dish to add nutrition and vibrant color to your dinner table. {Vegan}

Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce

A super simple Choy Sum recipe that uses 5 ingredients to create a scrumptious side dish in 15 minutes. The choy sum is blanched until tender, then drizzled with a garlicky sauce that is savory and lightly sweet. It is a perfect dish to add nutrition and vibrant color to your dinner table. {Vegan}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) choy sum

Sauce

Cook

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced

Instructions

  • Rinse the choy sum with running tap water thoroughly to remove any dirt. Discard any leaves that are withered or yellow.
  • Heat a big pot of water over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the choy sum. If your pot is not big enough, you can blanch it in two batches. Cook until the choy sum turns just tender, 2 minutes or so, or you can cook it until it reaches your desired texture. Drain the boiling water and rinse the choy sum under running tap water again to stop the cooking. Drain it thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels. Transfer it to a big serving plate and spread it in one layer.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic. Stir a few times to release the fragrance, 30 seconds or so.
  • Pour in the sauce. Cook and stir until the alcohol evaporates and the sauce slightly thickens, 1 minute or so. Immediately pour the sauce over the plated choy sum.
  • Serve as a side dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 73kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 3.2g, Fat: 3.4g, Saturated Fat: 0.6g, Sodium: 455mg, Potassium: 23mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 1.6g, Calcium: 139mg, Iron: 2mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. AsianCookingMom says:

    Looks great! I usually use a garlic-soy sauce for Chinese broccoli, but sometimes use it for choy sum as well. Will have you try your variation sometime.

  2. Liza Wainger says:

    Where can I buy chum sum?

    • Maggie says:

      You can usually find them in Asian market, especially Chinese market.

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