IT IS SO GREAT TO have friends who are likewise avid epicures (I eschew the term "foodie"), who are kind enough to think of me when they are out and about in New York City, My friend Maya proved to be one of those friends who, while strolling through Chinatown with her mom, asked via text if there were any relatively indigenous food items she could pick up for me while she was down there.
Pretty much telling her to surprise me, she wound up drop off for me some beautiful baby bok choy and a jar of hot pickled soybean, the kind of food you won't find on your average supermarket shelf, and exactly the kind of thing I'd look for myself if I were down there. And after three days of post-Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls, I was much looking forward to get as far away from Americana cuisine as possible.
Before I could make a full meal, I decided to try roasting some of the baby bok choy in just olive oil, lemon, ginger, salt and pepper. It made for a tasty hot side dish to that Saturday night's sushi home delivery.
But of course it was this mysterious jar of spicy pickled soybeans that piqued my interest. Testing just one bean put a nice little fire on my tongue, the accompanying splendid aroma of hot chili slowing clearing my sinuses and spreading heat through my shoulder and back.
As the temperature started to drop here in the city, it only made sense to wisely spice a nice dish up with heat and flavor. And I was so over any more "bird" I decided to do both beef and seafood with a spicy stir-fry of steak, shrimp, straw mushrooms, just a teaspoon of the spicy pickled soybeans, some more baby bok choy, sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, a little bit of brown sugar, then cover a bed of sticky coconut rice with a few huge spoonfuls with that heady and deliriously aromatic deliciousness. A sprinkle of white and black sesame seeds finished the dish with nice nuttiness and crunch.
The whole dish wound up being very nice. Almost as nice as my friend who made it happen for me. :)
Bun Apple Tea!
SPICY SURF 'N' TURF STIR-FRY | Shrimp, Steak, Straw Mushrooms, Hot Chilies with Soybeans, Bok Choy