|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This stir-fried spinach is so incredibly easy to make and so good, you'll be amazed. This dish bears a strong Chinese influence but is made distinctly Thai by the use of fish sauce and chili. The key to stir-frying spinach is to use enough of it, as spinach does tend to cook down to 1/10th its size. Baby spinach can be used, but it won't make a large serving -- a good bunch of regular sized spinach is ideal. If you live near an Asian market, you can buy Thai spinach, known as Pak Puay Leng, or Chinese spinach which is similar to our own mature spinach. Note that much of the stem can be included in the dish for extra fiber and crunch.
- 1 large bunch fresh spinach
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red chili, sliced, or 1/3 to 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed chili flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon oyster-flavored sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce/stir-fry sauce)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce if vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon sherry (cooking sherry works well too)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts or cashews (for topping)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a cup, stir together stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sherry, and brown sugar. Set aside. Rinse spinach and drain.
Heat a wok or large frying over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and swirl around, then add garlic and chili (if using). Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
Add the red pepper (if using) and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir-fry briefly, until the spinach leaves are lightly covered in the oil and garlic/chili (about 30 seconds). Add the stir-fry sauce and stir-fry until spinach has cooked down to a nice dark green (stems should still be on the crisp side), about 2 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and taste-test, adding more fish sauce instead of salt. If too salty or sweet, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. More chili can be added for increased spiciness.
To serve, scoop or slide spinach onto a serving plate or bowl. Top with the remaining liquid at the bottom of your wok/pan. Drizzle over the sesame oil and top with chopped nuts. This dish makes a wonderful side to nearly any Thai or Asian entree and is delicious with steamed rice.