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.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. I love borscht! 20+ years ago I grew beets in my garden and pickled them in the fall. Beets also make a wonderful substitute for potatoes as oven french fries!

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    1. Jean says:

      Beets as oven beet chips sounds yummy..and invigorating. I always find eating red beets seems add a bit of energy for me. I’m sure you can making borscht in your sleep by now.

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      1. Actually, I’ve never made borscht! I should learn!

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    2. timethief says:

      I love Borscht! too.

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  2. Wow, your recipes look delicious! I’ve never tried red beets, but I do love the purplish ones. Are they the same? I’ll have to look for them at our market! Lovely post.

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    1. Jean says:

      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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  3. 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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    1. Jean says:

      Should I actually write a recipe for this? I’m such a lazy bird because it means testing right amounts of ingredients.

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  4. By the way–great title for this post!!!!

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  5. Jessica says:

    Wow, I’ve never been a fan of beets, but that recipe looks good! I’ll have to try it!! (Also, I liked the title of this post, too!)

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    1. Jean says:

      Hi Jessica: This easy dish would be show-stopper with its colours for friends and family.

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  6. Rita Azar says:

    Yum, this looks delicious Jean. Just my type of recipe, easy and yummy!

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    1. Jean says:

      Yup, very fast. After cutting up the ingredients…it’s done under 10 min. after stir-frying. Must be served hot.

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  7. Emily Morgan says:

    Yum – I love red beets in all manifestations!

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  8. Jiawei says:

    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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    1. Jean says:

      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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      1. Jiawei says:

        Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe. I’ll have to try it one day!
        By the way, my blog name has been changed to: http://mypartofthehorizon.wordpress.com/
        hope you’ll check it out one day.
        Happy blogging!

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  9. timethief says:

    I love beets and my favorites lately have been the golden ones. My friend sliced them up and did them like french fries and I was hooked!

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    1. Jean says:

      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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  10. Renard Moreau says:

    [ Smiles ] Being vegan, I eat lots of beet. And, even before I became a vegan, I consumed lots of beet.

    Lovely article!

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  11. What an absolutely lovely blog! I’ve just started my own blog so I am very new to it all, but I have certainly been inspired by yours. Thank you for the inspiration, and the recipes – I will definitely be trying some!🙂 Pls do visit my blog http://www.nithisclickncook.com

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