Cha Chai: The LowdownEdit
This is one of the easiest stirfry Dishes to make. My favorite is made with Choy Sum, a green mustard vegetable similar to brocolli rabe. You can leave the stems whole for a more dramatic presentation or cut it up for ease of eating. The trick to this dish is timing. Prep everything ahead of time and have it right next to your Wok, otherwise you will have some burned garlic on your hands.Flycogen 21:28, April 25, 2012 (UTC)
- A bunch of your favorite crispy green vegetable- the ones that are slightly bitter go best with the oyster sauce. Most of these are some kind of brassica. Here a few of my favorites:
- Choy Sum (aka Ca'Na in Lao)
- Bok Choy
- Brocoli Rabe
- Mustard Greens
- Collard Greens
- String Beans
- Sugar Snap Peas
- 3-5 tablespoons of oil, enough for a thin layer on the bottom of your wok
- Oyster Sauce, about 1/8 of a cup, depending on how much vegetable you've got
- Black Pepper to taste
- 3 Gloves of Garlic (more if your names is Vivien), finely chopped
- Trim and cut your vegetables into a manageble size. For beginners, I recommend chunks no longer than 2 inches. Otherwise you will make a mess... although you will probably have to clean up a bunch of oil spatter anyway. As I mentioned above, long stems of Choy Sum look very nice on a plate and can make a very nice garnish.
- Heat the oil in a large wok over medium high heat.
- Have your veggies and oyster sauce ready by the stove.
- Put the garlic in the oil for about 3.7 seconds. It will burn REAL fast if you don't go right to the next step.
- Put the veggies in and stir them briefly (2-3 flips) to stop the garlic from burning.
- Pour your oyster sauce over the veggies
- Stir like a mad man until all of the veggies are slightly wilted but still bright green and the oyster sauce has coated the veggies. This should take only about 5 minutes or less. Do not leave this step unattended- it will over cook.
- With experience you will figure out what temperature you need for this step.
- What you don't want is a green pile of mush... paradoxically, you will usually need a higher temperature to avoid this (for a shorter amount of time)
- There should be some liquid generated from the cooking vegetables, if not adding a small amount of water, stock, or rice wine can help. (This is more commonly needed with the peas and string beans)
- Take the wok off the stove.
You can add some stirfried meat (Shrimp or thin slices of beef, chicken breast, or pork chop) to the mix. In this case, I would cook the meat seperately and mix it in close to the end. The high temperatures required especially in the begining would probably burn your meat.