Choy sum (also spelled choi sum or "Cai Xin" in modern Pinyin) is a leafy vegetable commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It is a member of the Brassica genus and the Brassicaceae (mustard) family (Brassica rapa var. parachinensis or Brassica chinensis var. parachinensis). Choy sum is a transliteration of the Cantonese name (Chinese: 菜心), which can be literally translated as "heart of the vegetable".
RECIPE: Stir-Fried Choy Sum With Minced Garlic
Stir-frying in a light sauce flavored with a little soy sauce and a lot of garlic is my go-to method to cook Asian greens. Quick, simple, and flavorful, it's really hard to go wrong no matter which greens you decide to cook.
Note: For a milder garlic flavor, do not add garlic to sauce in step 1. During step 2, before adding sauce, add garlic to wok and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the sauce and continue as directed.
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon water
6 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 pound choy sum, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
1. In a small bowl combine the ground white pepper powder, soy sauce, salt, cornstarch, sesame oil, and water together. Mix well and add the minced garlic (see note). Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the chopped choy sum and cook until bright green, about 40 seconds. Drain well.
3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the choy sum, stir, and season with a few pinches of salt. Continue to cook while stirring regularly for about 2 minutes. Push the choy sum away from the center of the wok (see note). Stir the sauce and add it to the center. Once it starts bubbling, combine it with the choy sum. Season to taste with more salt as desired. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.