More often than not, I find that cooking without a recipe results in an edible, if not delicious, dish. I’d like to think it’s because I have spent a LOT of hours in the kitchen as a result of this blog, the restaurants and my interest in food. But maybe I am just plain lucky, or far more tolerant of experiments I refuse to label as failures. :) At any rate, this dish was a hit in our household. :)
Gejo from Malipayon Farms dropped off an order for herbs and greens that I had place a couple of days prior. He also mentioned he had some “baby Chinese kale” and I asked for two bags of that. I figured it must be young “kai-lan or gai-lan” which I love for its meaty stems and earthy dark green vegetable goodness. But what arrived were just the young leaves, no stalk or thicker stems attached. I washed then tasted one leaf and knew it was the green I liked, but just in a different form, or at a different stage of its life cycle. And frankly, I had no idea what to do with them.
A quick check of the deep freeze (literally a small chest freezer) yielded a bag of frozen corn made from fresh corn that I cut up a few months ago and dropped into the freezer and promptly forgot about. With this Kylie Kwong dish I did years ago at the back of my mind, I decided to make a quick stir-fry with corn kernels and young kai-lan. I never even bothered to check for a recipe, just decided to “wing it” as how bad can a stir-fry be? Into a large wok over HIGH heat went a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, I added roughly two cups of chopped up leftover boneless lechon (use pork or chicken as you please), some chopped onions and a bit of garlic. Add some hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, a bit of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and ground black pepper and one siling labuyo, minced. Stir for a minute or so, then add in the corn. Toss vigorously and keep the stuff in the pan moving. Add the baby chinese kale (a lot of it, as it will shrink dramatically), a little more oyster sauce to taste, and toss vigorously. Just as the kale wilts, turn off the heat and serve immediately. This was better than good, it was very good. The contrast of sweet with the earth dark green leaves, the hint of spice, the soy and hoisin, all made for a VERY appetizing dish. Served with some pan-roasted chicken and rice and it was a very nice, quick and relatively healthy meal.