The Chinese have a traditional preparation for nearly all types of greens. Ging chao (translates to “clear stir-fry”) means using only a little oil, a dash of salt/ soy, and maybe a finish of sugar, depending on the bitterness of the chosen greens The preparation is meant to highlight the sweetness of the veggies, softening them just slightly and caramelizing the edges.
Grilled (or Pan-Fried) Greens
- 1 large bunch seasonal Asian greens*
- 1 tablespoon neutral high-smoke point oil (like grapeseed or sunflower)
- 1 garlic clove finely grated/microplaned
- 1 tablespoon ponzu or equal parts soy sauce and lime juice works
- 1 tablespoon Hot Pepper Vinegar or about 2 teaspoons sugar
- Wash the greens twice to remove all grit and leave them as large as possible so they don’t fall through the grate.
- Heat up your grill. The hotter the better, but a grill grate temperature north of 500° is best.
- While coals are heating, lightly toss greens in oil.
- Once the greens are on the grill, I keep turning and tossing and flipping for the entire cook time. I’m not looking for grill marks per se, but just an all-around browning. Usually the leaves are caramelized and starting to crisp and the stalks are bright and tender at around the five-minute mark. Once greens are lightly charred to perfection, remove and chop into bite-size pieces. Toss with grated garlic, ponzu, and hot pepper vinegar (or sugar). Serve piping hot.
Stephen David Caldes is a writer, home cook, and assistant professor in the Journalism and Public Relations Department at CSU, Chico. He has many hobbies, but eating with friends is his favorite.