Food

Stir Fried Laziness: Beet Greens in Chili-Garlic Soy Bean Sauce with Tomatoes, Ginger and Noodles

Three types of beets offered at this farmers' market stall.  In addition to red beets (on far left), are golden beets (orange) and candy cane beets (right) with a lovely white and red interior when cut open. Photo by J. Chong

Three types of beets offered at this farmers’ market stall. In addition to red beets (far left), are golden beets (orange) and candy cane beets (right). Photo by J. Chong

I don’t recall having red beets until I was in my early 20’s even though I’ve lived in Canada all my life. Even after sucking up delicious red borscht soup at a Hungarian restaurant several times in Toronto, I never prepared any red beets at home. Until less than 4 years ago.

You won’t find red beet recipes in most traditional Chinese regional cookbooks. Maybe you might be lucky in northern Chinese cuisine cookbook or a Muslim Chinese cookbook. Let me know.

Red beets struck me as messy and prone to staining whatever I wore or touched. So I never bought beets home until Jack took bunches of red beets, then cleaned, roasted and chopped them up. I still don’t buy them that often for home. But they are delicious when he prepares different beet soup variations with ginger, carrot or just plain deep rich beet goodness. Beets roasted with chopped onions and whole peeled garlic, is

Stir Fried Beet Greens in Chilic-Garlic Soy Bean Sauce with Tomatoes, Ginger and Noodles. Photo by J.Chong 2013

Stir Fried Beet Greens with Tomatoes, Ginger and Noodles. Photo by J.Chong 2013

dead simple and even more delicious when oven hot beets, are served with crumbled feta or goat cheese. Be even lazy diverse, by roasting beets along side with large pepper slices and tomato chunks.

Then only 3 years ago, we both realized one could cook beet greens. Being a lazy cook, I used my fastest and oft used method : stir-frying. With less than 1 tsp. of Chinese chili garlic black bean sauce (or hoisin sauce), onions, garlic, ginger root, beet greens can be stir fried with tomatoes. About 8 minutes before completion, fold in cooked, drained noodles.

Candy cane beet variety cut open.

Candy cane beet variety cut open.

It’s taken me over 50 years of my life to land upon this dead easy recipe that I invented in an evening.

My twist on red nutritious glory of beet would be: toss in minced lemongrass at the beginning with frying onion, garlic and ginger root. Or top off the hot beet greens dish with fresh cilantro when serving at the table.  A palate perk for an easy autumn dish.

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20 thoughts on “Stir Fried Laziness: Beet Greens in Chili-Garlic Soy Bean Sauce with Tomatoes, Ginger and Noodles

    • We use the purple-red ones –on far left of my lst photo. The root and greens. I’ve never tried cooking the greens for the golden beets (orangish ones). The golden beets don’t taste as deep and rich as the purple ones.

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  1. I love beets. I love borscht–though I haven’t made it for years. However, your beet recipe sounds and looks incredible. And I think I can buy great beets here! Thanks for sharing your creation.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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  2. That looks delicious, Jean!
    When I lived in the U.S., I used to cook a beet soup, with garlic, onions, celery and tomatos. It was a real easy and healthful soup to make. You are right, beets are rare in China, at least in Shanghai.

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    • Yes, the rarity of red beets in Chinese cooking (that we’re familiar with) was something I didn’t realize until I mulled over it. Yes, beet soup with other good vegetable add-ons, is healthy and to me, feels like a minor surge of energy. Maybe it’s the red root vegetable placebo effect. :)

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    • Golden beet french fries sounds like a delicious twist and yes, it’s hard not to enjoy borscht. One year we tried red beet ravioli with won ton wrappers. It tasted fine. A fine sauce might have kicked up that taste.

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