Pea Shoots (豆苗)
Part of the pea family, Pea shoots are the leaves of what is known as traditional garden pea plants, and are a popular winter season vegetable. Pea shoots are small, with thick and coarse skin. Due to their nature as winter season vegetables, Pea shoots can be expensive to buy, and in China they are considered a delicacy.
The taste of Pea shoots are fresh and pleasant, with distinctive flavours similar to that of their relatives in the pea family. Whilst aesthetically pleasing, Pea shoots must be eaten as soon as possible to prevent their taste from diminishing. Pea shoots are incredibly nutriuous, with around 100g of Pea shoots having over 7 times more vitamin C than other vegetables and fruits.
Pea shoots are easy to prepare and are similar to the procedures that must be followed when cooking with other types of peas. One must wash carefully and drain the Pea shoots before cooking. Pea shoots can be incorporated into any meal, whether that be as a hot side dish such as sautéed in butter and seasoned alone; or cold in salads. In traditional Chinese cooking, Pea shoots are reserved for special occasions. Whilst they may be cooked in stir-frys, they are often also served along side other special delicacy. One popular recipe is Haai pa-dau miu, where the Pea shoots complement the crab meat.