In honour of Chinese New Year, this week’s recipe is a simple stir-fry dish, suitable for week-night dinners. I’ve got it down to about 20 minutes by being fairly careless with the chopping and pretty generous with the heat.
I was able to find Chinese sausages once (maybe twice) and was surprised and delighted by their sweetness and general awesomeness. However, I just haven’t seen them for sale anywhere near where I live for a long time. I think that Austrian or Polish dried sausages, generally called Kabanos, make a delicious and worthy substitute in a stir-fry. I generally use Greisinger Cabanossi, but really any sausage of this kind will work. For a non-meat version, a vegan chorizo provides the salt and spice required to make this volume of mangetout exciting and delicious. It really is quite a lot of mangetout.
Full disclosure: this dish is not popular with the younger members of the family. There can be a strong suggestion that my dinner, due to its unappealing smell, could and should be eaten somewhere else. Those familiar with feeding small children may take that rejection (i.e. the garlic, ginger and chilli wafting from the bowl) as an endorsement of just how delicious this dish is. If I need to prepare a meal for a child at the same time, what I generally do is put some vegetables in with the rice to cook (e.g. carrot sticks, baby sweetcorn) and then serve rice and veg with a leftover protein.
The chilli bean sauce contains wheat flour. Replace with a chilli sauce that you know to be gluten-free, or add a little freshly chopped chilli at the same time as the garlic and ginger in order to keep things spicy. If you don’t particularly like spicy food, leave it out. Double-check the ingredients on the specific brand of sausage you buy (which I am sure you are already tediously used to doing).
Use a vegan chorizo instead of the sausage, and replace the honey with a teaspoon of sugar.
Meal for one
This adjusts really easily to serve one (no tricky “How do I do half an egg?”). Halve everything below and enjoy.
Person without chilli bean sauce and/or Shaoxing wine not necessarily inclined to make the investment or trip to Asian supermarket
One option is to leave both out. I think these ingredients make this dish taste pleasingly Chinese-y, but the recipe is not bland or boring without them. Sherry works in place of Shaoxing wine. Fresh chilli or a different chilli sauce will add the heat (maybe you bought some chilli jam already for the Democratic Kitchen PB & J Tofu – try that!).
- Get the rice going first, and then prep all the other ingredients before you start stir-frying. It’s really stressful to have a hot wok sizzling away whilst trying to cut up an ingredient or locate the (damn) tablespoon.
- Slice the sausage at a fairly acute diagonal to make each slice have a generous surface area. Go for around 2mm thick, but honestly don’t worry about being precise. It doesn’t matter.
- I move the wok off the heat to cool slightly for 10 seconds before adding the mangetout and Shaoxing wine. The wetness of both make the oil fizzle very enthusiastically, and I find that reaction scary rather than thrilling. Ignore if you are a cook of greater confidence and flair, or maybe just stand back a bit.
- Weighing ginger is pointless. Aim to get a piece that, once peeled, is roughly the same size as the amount of garlic you are putting in. Maybe just slightly more because it is so delicious.
Sausage & Mangetout Stirfry
Time: 25 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable or groundnut oil
2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
2 “cloves” of fresh ginger chopped into thin matchsticks (see Tips above)
4 teaspoons chilli bean sauce (e.g Lee Kum Kee “Toban Djan”)
3/4 teaspoon honey (or teaspoon sugar)
200g trimmed mangetout
2 Kabanos sausages (or vegan chorizo) sliced diagonally into 2mm thick pieces
1 1/2 cups rice
- Rinse the rice in cold water and then get it cooking in a saucepan or rice cooker.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan at a medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli bean sauce and stir into the oil for about 30 seconds.
- Add the sausage slices and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
- Add the honey or sugar and then the mangetout. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes
- Add the Shaoxing wine and stir-fry for another minute or two.
- Serve on the rice.