Recently, I have been trying to learn how to make Chinese dishes (as I have been here for a long time, but I can only make scrambled eggs with tomatoes – 西红柿炒鸡蛋 xīhóngshìchǎojīdàn). Being a novice in this, I decided to start from something super simple – stir-fried zucchini with shiitake mushrooms.
In China, stir-frying (炒 chǎo) is the most common method of preparing food – you have to use a big wok and fry something over a high flame, stirring for the whole time. The idea is that the food becomes soft, but it’s not completely cooked through, and thus preserves more nutrients. Also, it’s quite fast to make food using this method, and people can prepare many dishes in a short time. Obviously, large amounts of oil and a type of oil used can be something to be concerned about; I have no problem with consuming fat but I want to stay away from industrial oils – so I choose coconut oil or olive oil.
When frying vegetables together, it’s also important to know which flavors work well combined, and I think it’s easier to start from recipes with only a few ingredients.
Shiitake mushrooms in Chinese are called “fragrant mushrooms” and are very common here, just like zucchini. This recipe only requires very few ingredients:
Zucchini (西葫芦 xíhúlu): 2
shiitake mushrooms (香菇 xiānggū): 8-10
soy sauce (酱油 jiàngyóu) – it’s best to use light soy sauce, but it works with dark one as well – 2 or 3 teaspoons
garlic (大蒜 dàsuàn) – a few cloves
salt (盐 yán)
oil of your choice, I use coconut oil (椰子油 yēziyóu)
Makes around 4 medium portions, you can cut proportions in half to make less.
First, wash mushrooms and zucchinis. Cut mushrooms into slices and zucchinis into two halves and slice them as well. Chop garlic into small pieces.
Then, add oil into the wok, when it heats, add mushrooms and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Then, add slices of zucchinis and pour soy sauce over it.
Stir and fry till zucchini becomes soft and changes color. Then, add salt to taste. Lastly, add garlic and mix everything together. You can fry it for a moment longer if you want the garlic to be softer.
That’s it! It’s an easy and simple dish but it definitely conveys a taste of China!