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Pea Shoots

Bought some pea shoots today. I've never even seen them before. Let alone use the. They sort of look like lawn clippings. Do I use them on a sandwich? In a salad? Anyone have any ideas.

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  1. Love pea shoots. Treat them like spinach (they shrink like spinach, too). I like to saute the shoots in olive oil and garlic.

    1. I love pea shoots as well. I've only had them sauted in oil and garlic, as well. They are difficult to prepare at home, apparantly. My grandma tells me that you should really only eat the middle leaves of the whole stem (very wasteful!). The rest of it is pretty "fiberous". If you purchase a plastic bag full of it and prep it the way my grandma and mom does (breaking off and eating only the middle), you're really just left with less than half a bag of what's considered edible. I would agree and imagine that you could treat them like spinach!

      4 Replies
      1. re: alleycat81

        When I've had them in asian restaurants, I've never seen them prepared this way. It was pretty much the whole shoot, stir-fried usually with a little oil, garlic and salt. I've made them the same way at home without much difficulty.

        1. re: zebcook

          Most good chinese restaurants actually prepare pea shoots with A LOT of oil plus garlic and salt. That's how they get the taste and texture so nice.

          1. re: Humbucker

            Toss a chunk of fermented tofu into that to make it even better.

          2. re: zebcook

            Sam here, I love them under a seared tuna steak with a little soy, orange, and ginger glaze. I also just saute with garlic, s/p in oil. Very simple, they are great.

        2. Yet a third on the saute method, with oil and garlic.

          We like to have pea shoots alongside a fairly acidic dressed mound of soba noodles, an nice offset to the sweetness of the pea shoots.

          As far as prep goes, I usually just coarse chop (very coarse - sometimes I just tear the stems; however, if the stems are more mature, I will strip off the leaves for saute and use the stems for something else (the stock pot).

          Sauteed pea shoots are also a lovely side for hot garlicky shrimp. In this case, cut the garlic for the shoots, and pump it up on the shrimp. The non-sweet "sweetness" of the two together is wonderful.

          1. Try the pea shoots along with some tiny new peas in a simple salad with a very light vinaigrette dressing.

            1. ooh, i love pea shoots; i toss them with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Maybe if had some fresh mint, i'd add some as well.

              1. ditto on the sautee in which i include ginger, and i like them finished with grated orange zest. omitting the ginger, you can finish them with grated parmesan and a little red chili flake, then toss with linguine. they throw off LOTS of water and reduce to substantially less volume.

                1. Just wanted to mention that there are 2 types of pea shoots, referred to in Chinese as "large" (da dou miau) and "small" (xiao dou miau). (Not the most creative descriptions, but apt.) The large ones are infinitely tastier (and resemble lawn clippings less) if you have a choice. Here's what I do with the large ones: snip or break the stems between the large leaves so you have shorter segments about an inch and a half long. I like to heat up a bit of minced garlic in oil (till golden but not brown), stir fry the washed pea shoots (with water still clinging to them), add a little splash of soy sauce, then make a slurry of a couple Tb of water with about a Tsp of corn starch and stir that in. Gives it a nice texture like you find at Chinese restaurants. Add salt if soy sauce didn't make it salty enough. My favorite veggie!

                  1. I sit in front of the TV with a big bowlful and laboriously pull the leaves and end shoots off the stems. I dress with lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of salt.

                    A young Hmong woman at the St. Paul Farmer's Market told me to add strawberries cut up in small matchsticks. That's pretty laborious also, but with the lemon, olive oil, and salt, the strawberries adds a lovely sweet dimension. It was fun to take that salad to a pot luck.

                    I do the same with mache.

                    1. We've split off a discussion of where to find pea shoots in Manhattan. You can find that thread here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                      1. Yes, everyone is right. Quickly stir-fry them with salt and minced garlic, but add a little hon dashi for extra flavor. In Taiwan, they usually serve them as a bed for the main meat dishes, kind of like the shredded cabbage they use here.

                        Man, I wish they sold pea shoots in Hawaii. sigh.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LilLibellule

                          Grow some. You can even do it indoors in a pot. Ridiculously fast and easy and as all have said, delectable.

                        2. As noted above, the most common version is sauteed with garlic. I had some killer pea shoot dumplings recently at a resaurant.

                          1. In order to stir-fry or sautee them effectively, you need to pull off the curly tendril at the end of the stem. The presence of this tendril makes them cling together in one big lump when you try to stir. Once you've done this, all further prep is optional. I just dump them in a wok at this point.

                            1. I once did a risotto with pea shoots and a little ham, and that turned out very well.

                              1. Fancy wontons!

                                Filling: blanched pea shoots, diced raw shrimp, a little cripsy bamboo or waterchestnut or carrot, several threads of fresh ginger, and a bit of white pepper & fresh coriander.

                                Drop them into boiling water. When they float, serve them in chicken broth. Noodles optional.

                                1. I just had pea shoots, on top of a "carbonara" pizza at Crust in Chicago. The green crunch was the perfect foil to the creamy pizza. So good, you can check out there menu here with the description of the pizza:


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Eaterlover

                                    Interesting - I've made a Goin recipe for carbonara that included pea shoots - delicious.

                                  2. Recently tried this great recipe from Charles Phan of The Slanted Door in SF. Delicious! With larger shoots, make sure to trim off the tough lower stems.