Chinese love to eat leeks during Chinese New Year (commonly on the eve and 7th day) because of its Chinese name – 蒜苗/大蒜 (Suan Miao/Da Suan), where “蒜” sounds like calculating (“算”) in Mandarin. Due to the similar sounds, it is believed that eating leeks is an auspicious symbol of wealth (lots of money to count) in the coming year. Although I never believe in any of the auspicious food symbolism, I think it’s fun to cook and eat festively. Here is a meatless recipe for leeks, stir-fried in taucheo (soy bean paste) with vegetables like mushrooms, baby corn and carrots.
Wash the crevices between the leek leaves thoroughly, as there is soil trapped in between the leaves. One way to clean them is to slice them half lengthwise, and after washing thoroughly, pat dry with kitchen paper towels and slice accordingly.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
200g leeks, sliced diagonally (separate stalks from leaves)
1 tbsp cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms stalks removed
5 baby corn, sliced diagonally
1/2 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp taucheo (soy bean sauce)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese wine
Heat oil in wok. Stir fry garlic until fragrant.
Add leek (the white portion), mushrooms, corn and carrot. Stir fry for about 1 minute over high heat. Add tau cheo and sesame oil. Stir fry for another 1-2 minutes, or until the leek stalks are cooked.
Add leek leaves and stir fry briefly till the leaves are cooked and coated in the tau cheo. Drizzle Chinese wine along the sides of the wok, off the heat seconds later when you smell the aroma of the wine.