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Aunt Katie’s Choi Sum recipe

For my second birthday, my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. “I want some Chinese food,” was my response. I was lucky then; I was born in New York City and lived on the East Coast until I was 8. It wasn’t hard to find delicious Japanese, Chinese, Thai—well, just about anything you’d want, out there.

Now, I’m living in Phoenix, where the Asian restaurants were few and far between (and frankly, most aren’t that good). So, I’ve decided to work on collecting Asian recipes.

After I had a few trial and errors with fish sauce (note: Thai fish sauce and Filipino fish sauce are two very different things), I realized that I needed to find some experts. So, I’ve been look-out. Anyone care to share some of their culinary advice?

My aunt, Katie, is quite the expert at Thai cooking, and she gave me this lovely quick recipe for choi sum—it tastes like a combo of broccoli and spinach and has these pretty yellow flowers, which you can eat. I can find it nearly every time I go to our local Asian market.

1 bunch choi sum
1 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
1 T oyster sauce
2 T vegetable oil
2-3 cloves garlic
2-3 Thai chili peppers

Chop the choi sum stalks into thirds. Start a pot of boiling water and blanch the choi sum for about three minutes. You just want to take the “rawness” of it away—like you’d blanch broccoli, for example.

Quickly put the choi sum in ice water to stop the cooking.

Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Smash garlic cloves and chop chili peppers (no need to seed them) and add to oil until garlic is golden. Then, add choi sum and toss to coat with oil. Finally, add 1 T of each (or more to taste): soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir to combine and serve.


EmilyCC lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She currently serves as a stake Just Serve specialists, and she recently returned to school to become a nurse. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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  1. Jay s says:

    Phoenix does have some decent chinese restaurants, they just aren’t on every street corner. (Besides the suburban sprawl). They also don’t have the NYC taste to them, which I don’t really care for.

    For great Asian Groceries – Try Ranch 99 Market – and the surrounding area for some decent restaurants.

    Great dim sum in Chandler at the C-Fu Gourmet. That area (Warner / Alma School) has a bunch of asian restaurants that are different than you might think. (Ever had Vietnamese sandwiches? Try Lees – French pastry and bread with lots of coriander and spicy meat)

    The thing with phoenix and the suburban paradise is the good places are a little hidden and can require a bit of a drive.

  2. Dora says:

    When Jana and I were in China last November, I craved bok choi with a passion!

    As for asian recipes … John has a good one for gyoza (potstickers), and I love making Japanese style curry, even if it’s from a roux.

  3. EmilyCC says:

    Jay, thanks for the suggestions! I’m excited to try C-Fu Gourmet’s dim sum. And, I love Ranch 99 Market. My mouth starts to water as soon as I walk through the door.

    Dora, China sounds like such a fun trip!

  4. Téa says:

    Any other recommendations for shops/eateries? Anything West Valley at all? =)

  5. EmilyCC says:

    Tea, I love Autumn Court, but it’s not really West Valley (it’s on about 24th St and Indian School–they recently moved from Central Ave, and I can’t find their new address). We’ve also had good luck with some Vietnamese restaurants around 35th Ave and Camelback–love their yellow curries!

  6. Anonymous says:

    T, is that Tablespoon or Teaspoon?

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