It was an early afternoon in fall. I came home from school. As usual, I went to the kitchen and grabbed a bamboo basket, ready to go to our garden to pick some veggies for dinner. Our garden is also our family’s farm, where we plant our seasonal veggies both for the family to use and to sell. It took 5 minutes to walk to the garden. The sun was still shining but it would soon turn dark. The wind blew gently and brought along with it the smell of white champaca from my granduncle’s garden when I passed it. I called my dog – my lovely friend and also my companion – Mi to go with me. I was a secondary school girl and scared of creepy snakes when I went into the garden alone. Mi always ran eagerly in front of me and would clear the way for me. He would jump in a big bush or play with crickets in a sweet potato bed without fear while I was picking veggies.
For Vietnamese, sautéed veggies is a must dish in a daily meal. The simple recipe, but good for all kind of veggies, is sautéed with garlic.
- 1 pound of water spinach
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil
- 5 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of salt and sugar for blanching
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice (optional)
Wash the spinach and discard any bruised leaves thoroughly. Cut the spinach into easy-to-manage lengths.
Boil a pot of water and add 1 teaspoon salt and sugar to the pot. This tip keeps the spinach green after blanching. Drop the washed spinach into the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then drain water.
Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Fry all garlic for 30 seconds, take half of fried garlic out, leave for later. Add the blanched spinach and stir-fry, add teaspoon of fish sauce and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, keep frying for 2-3 minutes. Turn of the heat, add the rest of garlic and stir well. Transfer to a dish.
Serve right away, with a tablespoon lime juice poured on top (northern style)
Other sauteed veggies with the same recipe.