Snow pea leaves are my favorite vegetable on the entire planet. Which is funny, because I absolutely cannot stand the taste of snow peas. How does that happen? I have no idea. But snow pea leaves are the most decadent vegetable in Cantonese cooking, in my opinion. Dishes of snow pea leaves range from simply being sauteed in garlic, to being topped with shredded crab meat and scallops. The fact that someone decided to use something as extravagant as seafood to top a VEGETABLE means something’s special about it. And they are quite pricey for a vegetable too. At my Asian food market, they cost $4.50 a pound. When searching for good leaves, find the ones without any tendrils growing out of the stalks, or at least any long tendrils. Long tendrils seemed to mean they were older leaves, therefore they will cook up stringy and not as tender.
Snow pea leaves are incredibly sweet, with a hint of snow pea flavor. They just taste….fresh. Different from all the other Chinese veggies, in that there isn’t any hint of bitterness. And most people who have tried snow pea leaves for the first time actually say they crave this dish the next time they go to a Chinese restaurant. Next time you go to a Chinese restaurant, ask them if they have pea leaves in season, because it might not be on the menu.
And here’s an important tip. See the picture above? With the thin tendrils growing out of the stalks? Remove them. The tendrils don’t get tender after cooking, and are practically inedible.
- Snow pea leaves, 1 bag
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 2 Tbsp. Corn Oil
1) Wash snow pea leaves, pat dry.
2) In a wok on medium high, heat corn oil. Add crushed garlic, let cook for approx. 20 seconds.
3) Add snow pea leaves. Stir fry to coat evenly in oil. Add salt. After about 3-4 minutes, the leaves will release more water into the wok.
4) Put a lid on it for another 3-4 minutes.