Discard tough fibrous ends. Cut stalks diagonally in 1- to 1 1/2-inch sections. Blanch the stalks if young and tender. If not, parboil them. (Do not blanch or parboil the delicate tips.) In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Bamboo Shoots (canned)
Drain. Slice thin lengthwise then dice or sliver. In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Bamboo Shoots (fresh)
Remove outer leaves. Parboil 10 to 15 minutes then drain. Slice, and cook as above.
Blanch (this shortens cooking time, keeps them crunchy). Stir-fry with the salt and soy sauce until done. (Omit the stock and sugar.) Do not overcook: the bean sprouts will become discolored and dry. For the soy sauce you may substitute 1 teaspoon vinegar or a few drops of sesame oil.
Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out spongy pulp and seeds, then cut crosswise in 1/2- to 1-inch slices. Parboil 3 minutes. In step 4, cook 3 to 4 minutes.
Break into small flowerets. Trim off tough ends, then cut stems diagonally in 1/2-inch slices (split heavy stems in half). Parboil. In step 4, cook 3 minutes. Then cook, uncovered, 1 minute more, stirring gently. (If broccoli is cooked, covered, too long, it discolors and turns yellow.) NOTE: Chinese broccoli is more tender and needs less cooking.
Leave whole if tender cut in half if tough. Parboil. In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Discard tough outer leaves. Separate the stalks and leaves. Split lower stalks lengthwise in half then cut either diagonally in 1-inch sections, or lengthwise in 1/2- by 2-inch strips. Cut the leaves in 2-inch sections. Stir-fry stalks as in step 3. Then, in step 4, cook about 3 minutes. Stir in leaves at the very end, only to soften.
Separate the leaves. Cut in 2-inch sections and blanch. In step 4, cook 3 to 4 minutes. (The stalk and leafy portions may be added separately: In step 3, stir-fry the stalks 2 minutes then add the leaves and stir-fry 1 minute more. Pick up step 4.)
Wash and squeeze dry. Slice leaves lengthwise in 3 sections, then crosswise in 1/4-inch sections. In step 4, cook 3 to 4 minutes. For the soy sauce, you may substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar.
Cabbage, Round (new)
Cut young cabbage leaves in 1-inch lengths, or shred coarsely as for coleslaw. In step 4, cook 3 minutes.
Cabbage, Round (old )
Cut cabbage in 1 1/2-inch cubes or 2-inch wedges. In step 4, cook 15 to 20 minutes. (Or slice thin and parboil then cook as for new cabbage.)
Peel or scrape. Cut diagonally in 1/4-inch slices. (If large, cut lengthwise in halves or quarters first.) Parboil. In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes. For the soy sauce, you may substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar.
Break into small flowerets. Cut stems diagonally in 1/2-inch slices. Parboil. In step 4, cook 3 minutes.
Trim off leaves and tough stem ends. Cut stalks diagonally in 1-inch sections. Parboil if tough blanch if tender. In step 4, cook 2 minutes. (If celery is young, omit stock mixture and continue stir-frying as in step 3 until done.)
Peel. If small, cut in lit-inch slices. If large, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds then cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices. Reduce soy sauce to 1 teaspoon. In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Peel. Cut in 1-inch cubes or strips. In step 4, cook 3 to 4 minutes. (Or omit the stock and sugar and, in step 3, stir-fry gently until eggplant begins to give off its own moisture, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then sprinkle with the soy sauce and cook, covered, over low heat until done, about 13 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.)
Separate the leaves. Tear each in half or in 2-inch squares. Omit step 2. Stir-fry as in step 3 over medium heat until leaves begin to soften but are not limp. (Or stir-fry briefly in step 3, then cook, covered, without additional liquid another minute or two.)
Separate the leaves and cut diagonally against the grain in 1/2- to 1-inch sections. Omit the soy sauce. Reduce the stock to 3 tablespoons because this vegetable gives off considerable liquid of its own. In step 4, cook 2 minutes.
Peel and slice thin. Parboil. In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Soak, then squeeze dry. Slice, discarding tough stems. In step 4, cook 3 to 5 minutes, or longer. You may substitute the soaking liquid for stock.
Wipe with a damp cloth. Trim tough stem ends. Leave whole if small or cut vertically in 1/8-inch slices. Omit steps 2 and 4. At the end of step 3, sprinkle with the soy sauce and continue stir-frying until soft but not limp. For the soy sauce, you may substitute oyster sauce.
Trim off tops and bottoms. Cut in half lengthwise, then peel. Place halves flat-side down and slice crosswise. In step 4, cook 2 minutes.
Shell and blanch. Omit the soy sauce. In step 4, cook 3 to 4 minutes.
Cut in half and remove seeds. Dice or cut in strips. In step 4, cook 2 to 3 minutes. (Stop cooking while peppers are still bright green. If overcooked, they become drab and bitter.)
Peel. Remove spongy pulp and seeds. Cut in 2-inch cubes and score back of each cube with crisscross slashes. Omit the soy sauce. In step 4, cook 10 to 15 minutes.
Peel and dice. Parboil. Omit the soy sauce. In step 4, cook 3 to 5 minutes.
Stem and string. Leave whole if tender if not, cut in two diagonally. Blanch. In step 4, cook 1 to 2 minutes.
Wash, then shake off excess water. Trim tough stem ends. (If tender, leave stems on with about 1/2 inch of the pink root for color contrast.) Leave leaves whole or tear in 2-inch squares. Omit steps 2 and 4. At the end of step 3, sprinkle with the soy sauce and continue stir-frying until leaves turn a brighter green and are slightly softened, but not limp. (Or cover pan after step 3 and cook 1 minute without additional liquid. Then uncover, sprinkle with the soy sauce and stir-fry 1/2 minute more.) In either case, add the sugar at the very end.
(Chinese squash, summer squash or zucchini) Peel. Cut in 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices. In step 4, cook 3 to 4 minutes.
Stem, then cut or break in 1- to 2-inch sections. Parboil. In step 4, cook 4 to 5 minutes. (In step 3, you may also add 1 tablespoon soy jam to the hot oil, along with 1 garlic clove, crushed, before adding the beans.)
Separate root end from the leafy part. Cut diagonally in 1-inch sections. (Add leafy part at the end of step 3.) In step 4, cook 4 minutes.
Peel. Quarter if small cube if large. Omit steps 2 and 4. Stir-fry only to heat through. Sprinkle with the soy sauce and sugar then stir-fry once or twice more.
Turnips, Chinese White
Peel, then shred or grate. Omit steps 2 and 4. Continue stir-frying as in step 3 until done. (Or peel, and dice or slice 1/2-inch thick then parboil. In step 4, cook 3 minutes.)
Water Chestnuts (fresh)
Peel. Slice thin. In step 4, cook 2 minutes.
Water Chestnuts (canned)
Drain. Slice and cook as above.
Wash. Wrap in a clean towel and shake out excess moisture. Trim off tough stems. Cut in 1- to 2-inch lengths. Omit steps 2 and 4. Continue stir-frying in step 3 until bright green and softened, but not limp. Sprinkle with the soy sauce and sugar then stir-fry once or twice more.
Peel. Cut in 1-inch cubes. In step 4, cook about 4 minutes. Serve sprinkled with a few drops of peanut or sesame oil.
The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook. ©1994 by Gloria Bley Miller.
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