Cooking for One

Ginger Kale With Lobster Sauce

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

Note on the lobster sauce: this is a sauce that traditionally used to be served with lobster, hence the name, but it became quite popular in the US within Chinese-American cooking. Lobster sauce doesn't have any lobster in it; it’s just a thickened stock with egg white drop. It just so happens that this sauce does well with heartier, slightly heavier greens. So, this dish is kale with a lobster “sauce”. Some places on the west coast might call this a white sauce, but in Chinese or Cantonese cooking we just refer to it as a thickened stock.

Here, I’m using Tuscan kale—I recommend taking most of the stem off of your greens, just because the inside can be very tough. If you’re using curly kale, the inside tends to be even thicker. Which is to say, even more unpleasant. Other greens I might recommend for this are collard greens; or anything that can take on a little bit of liquid. Not a leafy green, but celery is actually very good with this sauce as well, and also broccoli. You see what I’m going for: heartier, thicker greens. Even gai lan, which is Chinese broccoli, would be great here. When cooking, keep the woodier, “stemmier” parts of the green away from the leaves, that way you can put the tougher parts in first to steam and cook.

The way egg drops work, is when the egg hits the hot water, the proteins denature really quickly to form little shreds, which means that if you speed up or thin out the pour of egg white into the water, you can create smaller strands. In Chinese cooking, we like to differentiate between making longer, blanketing pieces of egg drop versus small little swirls, depending on what texture you want. Here, we're aiming for something in between. To make that, I’m using some water and sesame oil to thin it out, but also add some fat back.
Lucas Sin

What You'll Need
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Ginger Kale With Lobster Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1/4 inch knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound lacinato kale, destemmed and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chicken powder or msg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  1. Heat a flat-bottomed skillet or wok over high heat. Once hot, add oil and heat until barely smoking. Add ginger and stir until aromatic but not golden, about 15 seconds. Add the greens and toss immediately to prevent the ginger from burning. Once well mixed, add ½ cup of stock and cover. Let steam for 4 min or until cooked about 60 percent of the way. Season with salt, sugar, and msg—toss to coat. Let cook for another 1 minute, tossing constantly. Remove the greens and set aside, leaving the liquid in the pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix egg whites, water, and sesame oil until combined. In another bowl, mix the potato starch and the cold water to make a slurry.
  3. Bring the sauce to a boil and slowly pour a thin stream of the egg white mixture into the sauce with one hand, constantly whisking with the other, to create an egg drop. Add ½ cup of stock. Taste the residual cooking liquid and adjust seasoning to be barely under seasoned. Thicken the sauce with the slurry, adding gradually. Turn the heat down and return the greens to the sauce. Toss until the greens are covered in sauce. Serve warm.

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1 Review

Eliz. December 8, 2022
Thank you so, so much not only for this recipe, but for a terrific video well worth watching!!! I was looking for a new way to prepare greens to accompany vegan mapo tofu (David Tanis created a surprisingly good recipe that substitutes diced shiitake mushrooms for the pork) for dinner; since I am not vegan, I will be trying out the lobster sauce on perfect, small leaves of collard greens from a nearby farm.

I also love your father's advice about choosing only one aromatic for stir-frying tender leaves and will keep it in mind--especially when it's time for sweet potato greens next year.