When I first blogged about rau den (Vietnamese amaranth) back in October 2008, I boiled it, the way my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) taught me. I had tried sauteing it once, but there wasn't enough moisture for it to work. Or perhaps, my limited cooking skills weren't able to make it work back then.
Then in March 2009, while having dinner at my brother's house, I tried sauteing it again with good results. Actually, he had invited me and lil' sis over because he had bought some fresh smelt that he wanted to batter and deep-fry. We showed up and he hadn't even started cooking yet. I even brought over the oil, but he still had to run out to buy more. Before he ran to the store, he showed me a bag of rau den that he had bought at the farmers' market and asked if I could do something with it.
Rau den is also called Chinese red spinach. You can see the red veins on the leaves.
I decided to prepare the red spinach as I would Rau Muong Xao Toi Voi Chao (Vietnamese Water Spinach Stir-fried with Garlic and Fermented Bean Curd). Perhaps that little bit of moisture from the fermented bean curd was just what the amaranth needed, because the leaves wilted properly instead of just drying out.
Red SPINACH, the secret ingredient for Weekend Wokking as chosen by Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf, who hosted last month's tofu round-up.
Rau Den Xao Chao (Vietnamese Amaranth/Chinese Red Spinach Sauteed with Fermented Bean Curd)
1 bunch of amaranth greens
1 cube Chao/Doufu Ru (Vietnamese/Chinese Fermented Bean Curd)
Pluck the leaves and discard bug-eaten parts. The stems are edible so section those into about 3-inch pieces, discarding the tough parts.
In a pan on high heat, add a drizzle of oil and a cube of fermented bean curd. I used red fermented bean curd, but white works as well too. Mash the bean curd and add a bit of the liquid if you wish.
Add the cleaned leaves into the pan.
Saute. Like regular spinach, the leaves will drastically reduce in volume.
I served the sauteed amaranth with jasmine rice, fried halibut collar, and Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce).
My first attempt at sauteing amaranth at my brother's house with the fried smelt dinner. I cobbled together a tartar sauce by mixing relish and chopped capers into mayonnaise.
Two kinds of seasonings with Japanese furikake seasoning and without.
I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.
The host this month is me! :)
Other spinach recipes:
Banh Uot Xao Bo (Vietnamese Wet Rice Noodle Sheet Stir-fry with Beef), Bok Choy, Broccoli, Bean Sprouts, and Spinach
Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw (Filipino Squash and Long Beans in Coconut Milk)
Rau Den Luoc (Vietnamese Boiled Amaranth)
Rau Muong Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Water Spinach)
Rau Muong Xao Toi Voi Chao (Vietnamese Water Spinach Stir-fried with Garlic and Fermented Bean Curd)
Vegetarian Lasagna with Feta Cheese, Spinach, and Tofu
1 year ago today, my favorite bookstore, Powell's City of Books - Portland - Oregon.
2 years ago today, Canh Rau Cuu Ky (Vietnamese (Chinese) Boxthorn Soup).
3 years ago today, Goi Xoai Xanh (Vietnamese Green Mango Salad).