Chicory (菊苣, jújù) has only recently arrived in China. Your best bet for finding it is in markets and hotels that cater to Western guests. Still, it’s a tasty herb with a pleasant bitterness that adapts well to traditional Chinese cooking, so whether you’re living in China and managed to get your hands on some, or you’re living in the West where it’s common, you can enjoy it with minimal preparation as part of a tasty and simple meal.
Chicory, also known in English as endive, comes in two main varieties: broad leaf and curly endive. The latter is sometimes called frisée, and is pictured here:
The steps are very easy.
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- 1 clove garlic, minced, with an equal amount of minced ginger
- 1 sizable head of leafy chicory, with the coarse stems removed; combined with about 1/2 cup each of mild red and orange peppers, julienned (if you have one, you can use a mandolin to cut the peppers)
- 1 Tbsp ponzu sauce (or 2 tsp soy sauce with 1 tsp lime juice)
- Heat your wok until barely smoking. Then add 1 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic and ginger (#1) and stir-fry for about 20 seconds without letting it burn.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the chicory and the peppers (#2) to the wok; stir-fry until the chicory starts to wilt, maybe one minute.
- Pour the sauce (#3) over everything and toss a few times until warm. Serve right away with rice and contrasting dishes.
VARIATIONS: For a sweeter dish, add some mirin or Xiaoxoing rice wine to the sauce. For a saltier dish, add 1 tsp chopped Tianjin Preserved Vegetable to the chicory (#2). You could also add either 1 tsp sesame oil or 1 tsp chili oil to the sauce.