Twice-Cooked Swiss Chard (Hui Gua Niu Pi Cai)

Twice-Cooked Swiss Chard (Hui Gua Niu Pi Cai)

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Ingredients

14 oz (400g) thick-stemmed Swiss chard
3 tbsp cooking oil, or 1 1/2 tbsp lard and 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tbsp Sichuanese chilli bean paste
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 1/2 tsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (100ml) chicken stock or water
3 tbsp finely chopped celery (Chinese celery if possible)
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens

Directions

Cut the dark green chard leaves from the stems. Snap each stem into a few pieces, which will allow you to peel away and discard the stringy bits, as you would with celery.

  

Bring a potful of water to a boil, add the stems and boil for about three minutes, until tender. Add the dark green leaves and boil for another minute or so until they are also cooked. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

  

Squeeze the chard dry, then cut into bitesized lengths. Pour the oil into a seasoned wok over a medium flame, swirl it around, then add the chilli bean paste and stir-fry until it smells delicious and the oil is richly red. Add the garlic, ginger and black beans and stir-fry for a few moments more until you can smell their fragrances. Then add the stock, bring to a boil, add the chard and stir until it is piping hot once more.

  

Finally, stir in the celery, cilantro and spring onion, stir a few times, then serve.