KitchenTigress: Spinach with Salted and Century Eggs

Spinach with Salted and Century Eggs

There're a couple of vegetables I refer to as Chinese spinach. Yin choi (苋菜) is one of them.

I love yin choi because the texture is smooth when I cook it with minimal oil. Other dark green veggies would be gritty when there isn't enough oil.

Yin choi goes well with dried anchovies. I like the veggies stir-fried with dried anchovies that have been fried till crispy. That's quite nice.

Yin choi in dried anchovy stock – with maybe some fishballs or pork meatballs – makes a quick, delicious soup.

When I'm tired of pairing yin choi with dried anchovies, I use a mix of century and salted eggs. The veggies are poached, a nice change from soups and stir fries.

I love the dish because it's fresh tasting and there's hardly any oil. I first had it in Chinese restaurants and after ordering it several times, I decided to hack the recipe.

I thought making the dish at home would be easy, and I was right. It's just poaching a few leaves. How difficult can that be? Sometimes, I use yin choi. Other times, I use kow kei (枸杞, aka boxthorn and matrimony vine) like the restaurant version. Nothing to it at all.

(Recipe for 4 persons)

1 cooked salted egg, peeled and diced
1 cooked century egg, peeled and diced
350 g Chinese spinach (yin choi, 苋菜)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp oil
1 cup robust chicken stock
2½ tsp light soya sauce

1. Remove roots from spinach. Wash thoroughly and drain. Cut into pieces 7-8 cm (3 inches) long. If stems are old and woody, break them by hand instead. Tear off some of the peel on the stems as you do so. This helps make the stems more tender.

2. Blanch spinach briefly in boiling water with salt and oil. Drain and gently simmer in chicken stock, covered, till just soft and still quite green, 3-4 minutes. Add or reduce stock as necessary. There should be enough to cover 30-40% of the spinach. Drizzle with light soya sauce. Stir gently to mix well.

3. Remove spinach to a deep plate, leaving stock in the pot. Add salted and century eggs to the pot. Bring back to a boil. Simmer for 30 seconds, stirring gently.

4. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour eggs and stock over spinach removed earlier. Serve immediately.