Daughter Miriam is on a very restricted diet—no onions, garlic, or peppers (not even bell peppers). This has made creating my Sunday feasts a bit of a challenge. After a bit of negotiation, we settled on Chinese steamed chicken and pea sprouts for this week.
My usual recipe for this dish would be dong quai chicken, a whole steamed chicken topped with pea sprouts. I am changing how I am making this dish and most of the sprouts would not fit in the dishes with the chicken. I decided to steam them separately, but just sprouts by themselves seemed a bit boring. I decided to add some mushrooms.
Recently, I have been making marinate shiitaki mushrooms and my family has really liked them. I wondered if marinating some oyster mushrooms and then steaming them would be as good. Daughter Eilene does not like mushroom, so I spread the mushrooms on top—allowing her to pick around them.
Pea sprouts are a very bulky vegetable that are available in most Chinese markets. Like broccoli and spinach they also have a very strong vegetal flavor that will over power many sauces. Blanching, in this case, both reduces the volume enough to fit them into a steamer and also removes some of the overpowering taste.
Note: In China I would have use pea shoots for this dish. These are the tender tips of the pea tendril harvested from the fully grown plant. While I have occasionally found these in Chinese markets, they can be harder to find.
Karl’s Steamed Pea Sprouts with Marinated Oyster Mushrooms
12 oz. oyster mushrooms
½ lb. pea sprouts
1. Tear larger mushrooms into smaller pieces and place them in a sealable plastic bag.
Tip: Oyster mushrooms may come in a wide variety of sizes—large, medium, and small—even within the same package. Take the larger ones by the thin, flared edge and pull them apart—you may need a knife to separate the thicker, tougher stems.
2. Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a cup until the sugar is dissolved and pour the sauce over the mushrooms.
3. Shake the bag to coat the mushrooms with the sauce and let them marinate for at least four hours.
Tip: Overnight is better.
4. Rinse and sort the pea sprouts and place them in a bowl.
Tip: The sprouts may have some dirt and some peas still attached. Look out for any yellowed sprouts as well.
5. Pour sever cups of boiling water over the sprouts and let them sit for one minute.
6. Drain the sprouts and shock them with cold water, to prevent them from continuing to cook.
7. Twenty minutes before serving, spread the pea sprouts in the bottom of a large shallow bowl and arrange the marinated mushrooms over them.
Tip: Pour any marinade remaining in the bag over the vegetables.
8. Place the bowl in a steamer basket and steam them for 10-15 minutes.
9. Serve immediately.