Monday, April 25, 2011

My Cooking Journal 9 - Stir Fry Chinese Spinach (苋菜) with Silver Fish (银鱼仔)

Do you still remember "Popeye The Sailor Man"? It is one of my childhood popular cartoon character. I still remember the smart Popeye when eats spinach will turn into a powerful strong man to fight against his enemy. 

In actual fact, spinach provides us with numerous valuable nutritions such as vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B6, iron, calcium, soluble dietary fiber and minerals such as potassium, manganese, folate, zinc etc. This healthy vegetable can helps our health in few ways like reduce cancer risk, provides antioxidant protection, protects our eye against degeneration, avoids anaemia, protect against osteoporosis etc.

However, the iron produces by spinach (known as non-haem iron) is not easily absorbed by our body. It is recommended to eat spinach with food that has high content of vitamin C which will assist the absorption of calcium and iron. Spinach also contains a compound called oxalic acids. This acids can hinder the aborption of calcium and iron and may also crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract. By boiling spinach in water will reduce the production of oxalic acids.

Buying and Storing of Spinach:

You can purchase spinach from any local supermarket or wet market. You can store them in the plastic storage bag and keep in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 3 to 4 days. It is best not to wash the spinach before storing as spinach will be easily spoil when contacts with water.

However, if you have washed the spinach and decides not to cook them instantly, then it is recommended to store the "washed spinach" in a air-tight container.  Before storing them in the air-tight container, try to dispose as much water as possible. It can still maintain its refreshess for up to 3 days after washed if you only stored them in the air-tight container.

Preparing of Spinach:

Trim the roots first, then place the spinach in a large bowl contains of water (this will helps to remove some sand and dirt). Pour away the dirty water. Then separate the stem and roots, by peeling off the leaves in a cluster of few leaves attached together. While you peel off the leaves, you may also encounter some thin fibrous layer being peeled off from the stem as well. Just remove and discard the fibrous layer. Next, you pinch the stem off every 2 inches (about 2 inches in length) . You will also encounters thin fibrous layer detached from the stem. Separate the leaves and stem in two separate bowl.

Once finish processing the leaves and the stem, refill the large bowl with water, swishes the leave around with your hands to remove dirt from the leave. Repeat this process thoroughly till no dirt remain in the water (Usually, I do it 2 to 3 times). Avoid soaking the spinach in water as water soluable-nutrients will escape out to the water. Finally, wash the stem thoroughly to remove the sand and dirt. Set them aside for cooking in later stage.

This time, I'll be introducing a simple dish that is stir fry chinese spinach (菜) with silver fish (银鱼仔).

My Ingredients:

  1. 1 pack spinach - serve two adult and two toddlers
  2. 1 cloves garlic - minced
  3. Ginger -  3 slices
  4. 1 cup dried silver fish (quantity as your wish) - wash and pat dry
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  7. pinch of pepper and sugar 
  8. 1/2 cup water

  1. Heat wok, add in dried silver fish (already washed). Stir for 3 minutes till they become crispy and turn brown in colour. Remove them from wok and set aside.
  2. Washed and rinse the wok, heat wok again , add in olive oil. When oil is heated, add in ginger slices, follow by minced garlic. Stir them till garlic is aromatic and turned abit brown.
  3. Add in the spinach's stems, stir for 2 minutes, then add in some water to assist in softening the stem.
  4. Add in spinach's leaves, stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach's leaves is wilted. Add in pinch of sugar, pepper and fish sauce. Mixed well and transfer the cooked spinach to a plate.
  5. Spinkler the cripsy silver fish on top of spinach and serve hot.
Method 1.
Method 2 to 3.
Method 5.

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