Sunday, March 30, 2014

Asparagus with Maitake Mushrooms 芦笋炒舞茸

Lately, I have heard and come across many "king(s)" of vegetables. So, who is the "king" of the kings? Kale is like the super-vegetable of all, so is broccoli and brussel sprouts.

Asparagus, an excellent source of folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, has also been classified under the "king" category. Definitely, the word "king" has been misused much, all thanks to marketing.

More appropriately, nutrient-dense is a better way to go when deciding which vegetables and /or fruits should be more regularly included in our diet. Very importantly, instead of just betting on one super-vegetable, we should seek moderation and balance from a wide variety of vegetables and/or fruits - the "rainbow" still holds true.

Sauteed mushrooms imparts rich meaty flavors to a ordinary vegetable stir-fry. So a combination of mushrooms and greens (leafy or cruciferous) in a stir-fry means a simple yet delicious dish! I have used maitake mushrooms here but you can use any mushrooms of your choice.

Asparagus with Maitake Mushrooms 芦笋炒舞茸
12 thick asparagus spears, trim off the bottom white parts (you can keep that for making asparagus soup another day).
Handful of maitake mushrooms, pre-marinated with 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
Ground white pepper to taste

[Preparing the asparagus] Separate the more fibrous bottom end and less fibrous top spears - hold the entire spear at both ends and gently bend the spear till it breaks into two (also where the spear naturally snaps), leaving you with tender less fibrous top spears and more fibrous bottom stems. You can peel the fibrous bottom stems to make it less fibrous. However if you slice the bottom stems very thinly at a bias (you can opt NOT to peel the bottom stems) achieving similar effect of breaking down the fibers, making it less fibrous on the bite.

[Stir-frying] Heat 1-2tsp cooking oil in a pan and fry the ginger and garlic till aromatic. Add the mushrooms and try till almost tender, and fragrant. Add the bottom part of asparagus first, fry for about 2 mins, then add the top spears, and fry for about another 2 minutes.

The only flip side about asparagus is that gout sufferers may need to reduce intake of asparagus due to the higher level of amino acids compared to other vegetables.

Sharing with Hearth and Soul.

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