October 30, 2007
I was surprised last night to discover a plump and chilly caterpillar curled up on a pak choi leaf, surrounded by a number of large, healthy-looking droppings. Its body-to-poo-size ratio was really impressive. It had eaten its way through almost an entire pak choi before a spell in the fridge had cast it into Cryonic suspension.
Fortunately the wee critter had been well potty-trained and confined his efforts to a single one of the four cabbages that arrived with this week’s box, leaving me plenty of untainted leafage with which to cook up this seasonal stir-fry.
Pak Choi, Mussels and Rice
You’re going to need… basmati rice, mussels, pak choi, garlic, chilli, ginger, a lemon, soy sauce.
To start, put the basmati rice on to cook – enough for however many folks you’re feeding.
Wash the caterpillar poo from your pak choi and break them into seperate leaves. If each leaf is too large, break them into more managable sizes. I like my pak choi leaves cooked whole so you get the contrast of crunchy stalk and tender leaf in the same mouthful. And it looks more Ken Hom.
Prepare the mussels by pulling off the beard and throwing them in a wok over a fierce heat until they open. Throw away any that remain closed, and remove the flesh from the shells. Strain the mussel juice and put to one side.
Chop the flavourings finely – a couple of garlic cloves, a fresh red chilli and a small knobule of fresh ginger.
Heat some sunflower or corn oil in the wok until smoking. Throw in the pak choi and stir-fry until wilted, ensuring the stalks retain some bite. Next add the garlic, chilli and ginger. Keep stirring for a few seconds to allow the flavours to mingle. Chuck in the mussels next. Stir again over the heat for half a minute or so.
Next add the rice. But not so much that it overwhelms the other ingredients. Again, stir around long enough for the rice to heat through. Add the mussel juice back to the wok.
Finally add a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a few glugs of soy sauce. A splash of Thai fish sauce would also be good.