Stir-fried Pea Shoots with Garlic (Dòu Miáo 豆苗)
Stir-fried pea shoots with garlic is a super easy and quick dish to cook! Their sweet and nutty flavour pair beautifully with garlic and a light seasoning of salt, seasoning powder and Chinese wine.
Here is a delicious and super simple Chinese stir fry that you can have ready in under 15 minutes. And it happens to be one of my favourite Chinese vegetable dishes, peas shoots stir fried with garlic.
I think you’ll like the sweet, nutty flavour of pea shoots and how delicious it tastes with sauteed garlic and a light flavouring of salt, seasoning powder, and Chinese wine.
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Guys, I wish I had known about pea shoots earlier. Truth be told, I was introduced to this vegetable only after arriving and settling down in Singapore twenty-odd years ago.
I had never tasted it before then, and certainly never cooked with it. But boy, did I become a fan!
Now, I’m totally hooked! I never get tired of eating pea shoots. Its delicate, nourishing and nutritious.
And whenever it’s available at my usual Chinese fast food eateries or restaurants, it is usually my first choice of a vegetable dish at the table.
What are pea shoots?
Pea shoots (dòu miáo 豆苗) are known by several names like snow pea shoots, pea tips, pea vines or pea stems.
Pea shoots are the tender, growing tips of the edible mature pea plant. Mainly, its the few top leaves, stem, and tendril which forms at the end of the vine.
Then there are pea sprouts as well. These are the common variety available in Singapore year round.
Pea sprouts are easily grown or cultivated from dried raw pea seeds in our tropical environment.
However, there is a distinct difference between pea shoots and pea sprouts.
In Chinese, we often refer to one variety as large and the other small, as in da dou miao (large dou miao) and xiao dou miao (small dou miao) respectively.
Especially when ordering this dish at restaurants, it is worthwhile to ask whether it’s the large or small dou miao that is being served.
This is because in stir-fries, the large pea shoots will be more tender and juicy than pea sprouts.
In Chinese soups, both are equally enjoyable, but pea sprouts will taste better in salads.
There’s also a cost difference, the large variety being more expensive. So restaurants and eateries will charge a higher price for it. Just so you know, because I’ve been caught unaware before!
Restaurant-style stir fried pea shoots from scratch
Given how prices of restaurant meals have crept up over the years, it feels almost painful to pay so much for a vegetable dish that you can easily cook at home in minutes.
It’ll cost you just a fraction of what you would have to fork out, and will save you money!
Here in Singapore, pea shoots (da dou miao) are seasonally available compared to pea sprouts (xiao dou miao).
But when in season, it’s easy to buy these from the wet markets. I’ve been told by the vegetable vendors that large dou miao are sourced mainly from Taiwan.
Given their seasonality, I tend to buy in large quantities, about 500 grams to 750 gm. From my experience, it helps to store in smaller portions in sealed Ziploc bags in the refrigerator.
That way, should some pea shoots turn mouldy for whatever reasons, it’ll only affect the batch in the bag, and not the entire lot.
The recipe suggests using 300 to 350 grams of raw pea shoots, which is typically enough for a dish to serve 4.
Pea shoots will wilt considerably and soften when cooked, so it will appear much less in quantity when cooked.
Why pea shoots are good for us
Here are some health and nutritional facts about pea shoots:
- very low in calories. Only 18 calories per 100 gm!
- 7 x more Vitamin C than blueberries. Vitamin C strengthens our immune system
- 8 x more folic acid, part of the B-group of vitamins, than bean sprouts. Folic acid helps our bodies make healthy cells and blood
- 4 x more Vitamin A than tomatoes. Vitamin A boosts our skin health health and immune system
This recipe needs only 5 main ingredients
This recipe is simple and needs only 5 main ingredients.
It’s a delicious stir fry whether you’re cooking with pea shoots or pea sprouts.
The key to a flavourful veggie stir fry in my opinion, is to go all out with the garlic, especially in this dish!
Check out these other recipes for easy, cook-it-yourself vegetable stir-fries:
- Stir-fried Nai Bai with Garlic
- Stir-fried Kailan with Garlic and Oyster Sauce
- French Beans Stir-fried with Minced Pork in Soy Bean Paste
- Bean Sprouts Stir-fried with Salted Fish
- Brinjal Stir-fried with Garlic and Dried Shrimp
- 350 g pea shoots
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¾ tsp chicken seasoning powder
- ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 ½ tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine, optional
- 1 tbsp hot water
- Snip or break with your fingers, pea shoots into bite-sized segments, roughly 1-inch in length. Wash thoroughly, drain, and set aside.
- Heat up a wok over high heat. When wok is smoking hot, add oil. When oil is very hot, add chopped garlic and fry for 10 to 15 seconds until fragrant. Add pea shoots all at once, and toss lightly for 20 seconds, then add chicken seasoning, salt, and Chinese wine (optional). Add a little hot water, if you like, (the steam generated when it hits the hot wok will help to quickly cook the pea shoots), and continue to stir fry for 1 minute, or until the shoots are slightly wilted, but still bright green.
- Transfer to a serving plate or dish, leaving behind some, or most of the juices, if you wish. Serve immediately.