Green Peas Stir Fry

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This comforting, classic Shanghai dish – green peas stir fry – is quick, easy, and absolutely satisfying served as a side or a main dish! {Gluten-Free}

Green peas stir fry close up

Growing up in Beijing, I was exposed to Shanghainese cuisine early on as a child. The cuisine is so widely adored for many reasons. For example, the abundant seafood dishes, delicate soup dumplings and scrumptious pan fried buns, and various ways to cook with vegetables. 

Among all the dishes, one of my favorites is this very simple green peas stir fry dish that comes together super-fast for a truly satisfying meal. 

Green peas stir fried with Spam and bamboo shoot

Why this recipe

Traditionally, green peas stir fry is made with Chinese ham. It’s a type of cured meat that is very similar to prosciutto. The ham will add tons of flavor to the dish, making a simple veggie dish taste extra rich and satisfying.

However, in the US, Chinese ham is a hard ingredient to find if you do not live near a Chinese market. Plus, it can be quite expensive. So we tested out different kinds of ham as substitutes. 

We tried cooking with Chinese ham, prosciutto, ham steak, and spam. Prosciutto didn’t work out well, and ended up with a less appealing dish that was kinda greasy. The Chinese ham and ham steak both worked, but Spam was the clear winner.

The recipe below works with Chinese ham and ham steak as well, but you will need to adjust the salt level accordingly.

Shanghai green peas with ham

Ingredients

In my recipe for green peas stir fry, I’ve added bamboo shoots. They give the dish a great texture and are very delicious. Though you can leave them out if you’d rather keep things simple. And speaking of simple, we used frozen peas in this dish. But if you happen to have fresh peas, you can blanch them until they’re al dente and then make this dish according to the recipe.

Again, if you’re not a Spam fan, you can use any type of ham you like. Ham or ham steak would work best in terms of texture though. You may need to adjust the amount of chicken powder or salt you use with your choice of ham, since some varieties are saltier than others. Be sure to give things a taste before you add these seasonings to your liking, so you don’t wind up with something too salty.

Ingredients for making green peas stir fry

Cooking process

Cooking green peas stir fry couldn’t be easier.

  1. Pan fry the Spam so it’s lightly browned
  2. Add the ginger and bamboo shoots, then cook a bit more
  3. Add the seasonings and water, and braise for a few minutes
  4. Swirl in the cornstarch slurry and it’s done! 
Green peas stir fry cooking step-by-step

Whatever type of meat you choose to use in this peas stir fry, you will find yourself with a comforting and filling dish that you can make in just 11 minutes, including prep and cook time. It’s originally a side dish, but it can work as a nice lunch if you serve it over rice. 

Green peas with Spam and bamboo shoot close up
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This comforting, classic Shanghai dish - green peas stir fry - is quick, easy, and absolutely satisfying served as a side or a main dish!

Green Peas Stir Fry

This comforting, classic Shanghai dish – green peas stir fry – is quick, easy, and absolutely satisfying served as a side or a main dish! {Gluten-Free}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium Spam , cut to small squares (or Chinese ham, or ham steak) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , minced
  • 1/4 cup bamboo shoots , cut to small squares (*Footnote 2)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas *Footnote 3
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder (or 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste) (*Footnote 4)

Slurry

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cold water

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the ham. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a minute or until the Spam is lightly browned.
  • Add the ginger and bamboo shoots. Continue to stir and cook for another minute.
  • Add the frozen peas. Cook until they appear to be fully thawed.
  • Pour in the water. Add the sugar and chicken powder (or salt). Stir to mix well. Cook covered for 2 minutes.
  • Combine the slurry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour it into the pan and stir to mix well. Once the liquid has thickened slightly, transfer everything to a serving plate.
  • Serve hot as a side or over rice as a main dish.

Notes

  1. The Spam or either type of ham will work in this dish, but you will need to adjust the chicken powder / salt level a bit to achieve a balanced flavor.
  2. I used a whole bamboo shoot from the Asian market. If you use canned bamboo shoots, it might come in flat shaped pieces and you can simply chop them into smaller pieces. They don’t have to be square.
  3. You can also use fresh peas and boil them until al dente to replace the frozen peas.
  4. Ideally, using homemade chicken broth and salt will yield the best result. I prefer to use chicken bouillon powder and water because it’s super convenient and it yields a great taste. If you prefer not to use chicken powder, you can also use store-bought chicken broth to replace the water along with some salt.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 177kcal, Carbohydrates: 14.5g, Protein: 6.8g, Fat: 10.3g, Saturated Fat: 2.9g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 345mg, Potassium: 269mg, Fiber: 4.2g, Sugar: 5.9g, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

More delicious veggie recipes

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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