Simple and fresh, this 3 ingredient recipe is the most delicious way to prepare Choy Sum! Whether you call it choy sum, yu choy, or you cai, this is a wonderful vegetable side dish that is healthy and full of flavor. It's also very easy to make.
Choy sum is a popular dish at many Chinese restaurants in Hawaii. We often order it when enjoying dim sum at Jade Dynasty (in Ala Moana) or Yung Yee Kee. It also comes as a side vegetable when you get the roast pork and/or duck plate with rice at Asian Mix (super delicious).
This leafy green is such an easy to love vegetable. And best of all, the easiest way of preparing it just happens to also be the tastiest way to enjoy it!
We simply blanch the choy sum. Then plate it and drizzle oyster sauce on top. That's it!
There are a few little tricks and tips to make it extra special, all of which are easy to do.
Here's what you'll need:
- Choy sum - Also called yu choy or you cai.
- Oil - Use a neutral oil like vegetable oil or avocado oil.
- Oyster sauce - Make sure to use Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce. There are many other oyster sauce brands (we even found a vegan version at Whole Foods Hawaii), but we like the LKK one best. LKK has several different types of oyster sauce, but the Premium Oyster Sauce is the classic.
See recipe card for quantities.
Let's get cooking!
Wash and clean the choy sum well. Make sure you clean it very well.
We first rinse the vegetable a few times, and then soak it in water for 5-10 minutes. After soaking, drain it in a colander and set it aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the oil. Adding the oil is essential! Just a little bit oil helps give the vegetable a bit of shine and silkiness. You'll be surprised by what a difference it makes.
Once the water boils, add the choy sum and blanch for about 30-45 seconds. It will turn a vibrant green color, and be nice and tender.
You can blanch for a longer period if you prefer it more on the tender side...it really depends on personal preference and how big/thick the stalks are (we used baby choy sum in the photos so only needed to blanch for about 30 seconds).
Use tongs to gently remove the vegetables from the water and arrange them nicely on a plate. Try to keep all the leaves and stalks facing the same direction.
Drain any excess water from the plate.
Drizzle the oyster sauce over the choy sum. That's all you have to do! Eat and enjoy ^_^
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few popular ideas:
- Make a sauce - Drizzle the oyster sauce on top is the easiest and very delicious. But if you have extra time, you can make a proper sauce. Warm a spoonful of neutral oil in a small pan. Then add equal amounts of oyster sauce and soy sauce and mix. Then drizzle in a little sesame oil. Add some ground white pepper. The mix again and pour that sauce over the vegetables. So good!
- Bok choy - Use this same recipe for any other type of similar leafy green. We also love to cook bok choy the same way.
- Steam - Instead of blanching/boiling the vegetables, you can also steam it.
This dish tastes best fresh and we never have leftovers! But if you do have leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Reheat the choy sum in the microwave in 30 second increments.
Don't forget to drain any excess water from the plate after you plate the choy sum! Otherwise you'll have this annoying pool of water underneath the choy sum. The water gets in the way and will also dilute the oyster sauce drizzle.
We recommend using Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce. We've tried many types and this one is our favorite. You can find it at many supermarkets and even at Longs Drugs (which is secretly CVS) and Costco Hawaii.
It is all the same thing!
We call it choy sum when speaking Cantonese and you cai when speaking Mandarin.
We use a neutral oil like vegetable oil or avocado oil.
Use scissors to cut them the vegetables in half. You can still keep the choy sum plated lengthwise and use scissors to cut it directly on the plate.
Choy Sum Recipe
- 1 pound choy sum also called yu choy or you cai
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- Wash and clean the choy sum well. We like to wash it a few times and also soak it in water (if you have time). Then drain in a colander and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the oil.
- Add the choy sum to the water and blanch for about 30-45 seconds.
- Use tongs to remove the choy sum from the water and arrange them on a plate. Drain any excess water from the plate.
- Drizzle the oyster sauce over the choy sum. Eat and enjoy!
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