Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Unlike my other fewd-eating out posts, today I’m going to share with everyone a fast and easy way to be getting your greens! As a med student who struggles with eating salad and raw vegetables, I personally know the difficulty of eating fresh wholesome foods in today’s busy-zoom-zoom society.
Since starting my surgery rotation and moving into my fabulous new apartment (away from rodents and such), I now have all the means to cook but none of the time. So I decided to stick with simple and clean dishes, such as 시금치 나물 (shigeumchi nameul, the little spinach side dish you get at Korean restaurants). Except, I use whatever vegetables I can get my hands on, or whichever ones that resemble spinach. In this case, I used 油菜, you cai (Mandarin), or more commonly known to the Western world as yu choy (Cantonese).
1. All you need is to bring a big pot of water to a boil, and toss the vegetables in for about 1 minute and scoop them out. (This quick method of cooking is called blanching.) The traditional spinach 시금치 나물 usually takes about 30 seconds to blanche because spinach is much smaller and thinner. With whatever spinach-resembling veggie you decide to use (watercress, broccoli rabe, yu choy, bok choy, etc.), you just want to take it out as soon as it’s cooked. It also depends on whether you prefer greens on the raw side or the well-done side. I prefer mine well-done.
2. After you scoop it all out, rinse with cold water a few times until the veggies are cool. Then squeeze all the water out with your hands. Work those lumbricals (hand muscles)!
3. Now just add some sesame oil & soy sauce in a 2:1 ratio. This is by no means the golden ratio. I like my 시금치나물 more sesame oily but others may prefer it more salty/soy saucey. Really, it’s up to you.
4. For garnish, I like to sprinkle on minced garlic and black sesame seeds. This step is completely optional, especially if you’re short on time. I’m personally a garlic whore/vampire repellant and mince up to 4-5 cloves for all my salads. If you are a normal person, I would say 2-3 cloves is fine, and 1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds.
This takes about 30 minutes total to prepare, cook, and clean up: 10 minutes to clean/prepare the veggies, 10 minutes for the water to boil, 5 minutes to season, and 5 minutes to do the dishes.
– 1 bag/bundle of spinach/watercress/yuchoy/vegetable of choice
– sesame oil (I like Kadoya)
– soy sauce (Kikkoman is fine)
– 2-3 cloves garlic (or as few/many you want)
– 1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional)