This side-dish is so simple that it hardly deserves a blog post all of its own but it is one of those recipes that is very handy to have in your repertoire when you want to rustle up something fast to serve alongside spicier dishes or even with a traditional Sunday roast.
It is one of the many “home style” dishes that my Chinese teacher Wei Wei has taught me since we started combined Chinese and cooking lessons some weeks ago. After a bit of a break over the summer we are back in action now and she has also started adding new recipes to her own blog Wei Wei’s Chinese Kitchen.
No special Chinese seasonings are used in this dish. The secret to the flavour lies in adding half the garlic before stir-frying the peas and the other half at the end. Wei Wei normally makes this with mange tout peas which she plunges in boiling water for about a minute before cutting them. By happy accident I had picked up sugar snap peas by mistake and I loved the crunchy texture and the way the seeds pick up the flavour of the garlic and the oil. They take a little longer to cook. Broccoli can also be cooked in this way and my daughter in-law Shan often serves broccoli with garlic as a side dish.
The night Wei Wei showed me this recipe she also taught me how to make her version of Kung Pao Chicken which is utterly addictive. The results of my efforts are pictured below. The combination of the spicy chicken dish with crunchy peanuts or cashew nuts and the more delicately flavoured peas is a real winner served with steamed rice.
I have previously blogged a recipe for Gong Bao Chicken, as it is known in Sichuan Province, which I learnt at Hutong Cuisine Cookery School but I also love Wei Wei’s recipe which is here on her blog. While the Hutong Cuisine version is spicier, the combination of tomato paste (tomato puree) and hot bean sauce in Wei Wei’s recipe softens and rounds out the flavour of the dish. Where she refers to prickly ash in the recipe that’s the same as sichuan pepper corn. I tend to use cashew nuts instead of peanuts but both work.
Try both recipes and see what you think and accompany them stir-fried sugar snap peas. Enjoy!
Stir-fried Sugar Snap Peas with garlic
- 2 packets of sugar snap peas (about 320g in total)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs cooking oil
- A drizzle of sesame oil (optional)
Preparation and cooking
- Peel and finely dice the garlic.
- Steam or blanch the sugar snap peas for about 2 minutes at most, then drain. You want them to retain their crunchy texture.
- Once they are cool enough to handle, cut the sugar snap peas into two to three sections at steep angles.
- Heat a wok. Add about a tablespoon of cooking oil. When the oil is hot add half the garlic being careful not to burn it. As soon as the garlic releases its aroma, add the sugar snap peas. Stir-fry for a few minutes until just beginning to blister but don’t allow them to burn.
- Add the salt and the rest of the garlic and stir-fry for about another minute. Remove from the heat and taste to check seasoning. Add a small drizzle of sesame oil if you wish.