There were big boxes of Chinese greens at the grocers' market at the weekend, and because it's spring, some still had beautiful little yellow flowers on them. I couldn't resist, and bought a tray of oyster mushrooms to go with, since I'd enjoyed the ones I ate at Greenhouse so much. Most stir-fry recipes just tell you to throw them in with everything else, but I can't argue against this strongly enough. The best way to cook them is to lay them all out in a large flat pan with a drizzle of oil, and fry until golden, then flip and repeat - it only takes a couple of minutes and you simply have to be strong and leave them alone. The rest of the veg can be stir-fried normally and then you can put it all together at the end. The result has far better flavour than stir-frying everything together.
- a large bunch of Chinese greens (we used flowering choy sum)
- a carrot
- 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
- knife-point of cayenne or chilli powder
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 tbsp boiling water
- 300g oyster mushrooms
Cut the choy sum bunches widthways in half to separate the thick stalks from the thin stalks with leaves. Slice the thick stalks diagonally into bite-sized pieces, and roughly chop the leafy ends. Reserve any flowers. Peel and mandolin or julienne the carrot. Combine the peanut butter, five-spice, cayenne, sugar, soy sauce, mirin and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Heat a wok and a large flat frying pan, each with a little vegetable oil, until shimmering. Place the oyster mushrooms in the frying pan in a single layer, and fry until golden - about two minutes - then turn and caramelise on the other side. Meanwhile, stir-fry the carrot in the wok for a minute, then add the choy sum stalks and crush in the garlic and fry for a further two minutes. Add the leaves of the choy sum and the bowl of sauce and stir until the leaves have wilted. Top up with boiling water if the sauce looks dry. Serve over rice, with the oyster mushrooms and flowers placed on top, and the sauce drizzled over.