Garlic

Garlic Stir-Fried Spinach

by:
November 22, 2022
5
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Stir-fried greens are a staple of Chinese meals. If you go to a restaurant or you’re eating at home, there’s usually a plate of stir-fried greens on the table. This recipe is for what I call “standard-issue” stir-fried greens. It’s a bulletproof way of sautéing bright green, toothsome leafy greens that have both flavor and textural integrity. It’s not difficult, but there’s a formula that requires high heat, steam, and a well-balanced cooking liquid to yield my ideal plate of greens.

Here I call for mature spinach with a stem, but feel free to use baby spinach or any tender leafy greens such as yam leaves, watercress, bok choy, or Chinese broccoli (if you want to cook hearty, leafy greens, try my recipe for Ginger Kale with “Lobster” Sauce. Or, for much sturdier vegetables like cabbage, try my Hunan Hand-Torn Cabbage With Bacon and Chilis). There is one very important rule to adhere to for cooking stir-fried greens that I inherited from my dad: choose garlic or ginger, but never both. Using too many aromatics could risk muddling the flavor of this dish, so we pick one to stand out. You’ll also find the leaves will absorb more of the flavor from the cooking liquid than the stems, so mix your greens well to ensure well-balanced bites.

A note: Once you turn the heat on your pan or wok, this dish will come together extremely quickly. To make sure everything goes smoothly, have all your ingredients prepped and measured before getting started. —Lucas Sin
Lucas Sin

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Garlic Stir-Fried Spinach
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1 pound spinach, yam leaves, or watercress, cut into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken powder or MSG
Directions
  1. Heat a flat-bottomed skillet or wok over high heat. Once hot, add oil and heat until barely smoking. Add garlic and stir until aromatic but not golden, about 5 seconds. Add the greens and toss immediately to prevent the garlic from burning. Once well mixed, add the water and cover. Let steam for 2 minutes.
  2. Once the greens are beginning to soften and are cooked about 60 percent of the way, season with salt, sugar, and chicken powder. Toss well and plate, letting the residual heat cook the vegetables fully (the final product should be bright green, barely wilted, and glossy).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hollis Ramsey
    Hollis Ramsey
  • Sipa
    Sipa
  • Marie Frank
    Marie Frank
  • vrinda
    vrinda

11 Reviews

Marie F. December 11, 2023
I agree with Nancy M. This site is now just about products for sale. The video should be updated with new recipes. Is anyone monitoring this website? I am disappointed with Food 52. I used to check it out quite frequently, and now it just stays the same!
 
Sipa December 22, 2023
Completely agree. I rarely come here anymore.
 
tracey December 22, 2023
subscribe to their youtube channel. there are new videos all the time.
 
vrinda November 21, 2023
Awesome explanation of how and why the process must be this way !
 
Nancy M. November 16, 2023
I remember fondly when this site was about food instead of kitchenware, and interesting recipes appeared almost daily. This recipe/video has been up for weeks. I'm pretty sure anyone who wanted to make it has seen it by now.
 
t October 27, 2023
LUCAS SIN COOKBOOK WHEN
 
Hollis R. July 16, 2023
This should be served over baked rice where the rice has first been rinsed and then soaked in icy cold water for a minimum of 2 hours. Sautéed greens over rice is so delicious and so simple. I guess it’s healthy, too, but that’s not why I eat it.
 
Katie March 28, 2023
Is the MSG or chicken powder a must?
 
Nancy H. March 16, 2023
Awesome video - great inspiration to "eat my greens"!
 
Lynn D. December 11, 2022
Oh, my. I clicked on ´get the recipe´in how to host a holiday cookie party and got this spinach recipe from Lucas Sin. It's no wonder no one has reviewed this recipe if they were looking for cookies. Food 52, you can do better.
 
GardenGirl January 2, 2023
I had the same experience!