Choy sum

Choy sum

Have You Eaten
Billy Law

Choy sum literally means the ‘vegetable heart’ in Cantonese. It has broad, dark green leaves, with soft green stems, sometimes with yellow flowers. Choy sum can be easily overcooked and only needs a minute or two in the wok. I have used fish cake to go with the choy sum in this recipe, but you could also use fish balls, lap cheong (Chinese sausages; see note) or firm tofu cubes.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 french shallots, thinly sliced
10g fish cake, thinly sliced, (see note)
1 bunch choy sum, ends trimmed, washed and cut into 5 cm lengths
2 tablespoons light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
dash sesame oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok, add the garlic and shallots and fry until golden. Remove from the wok and set aside (keeping the oil in the wok).
  2. Reheat the wok, then add the fish cake slices and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until lightly brown on the edges. Add the choy sum and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, toss to combine, then stir-fry for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle the fried garlic and shallots over the top. Give it another splash of soy sauce and drizzle the oyster sauce all over.


  • Fish cake can be found in Asian grocers or major supermarkets. It comes in a long, thin block in a sealed packet.

    Lap cheong is also known as Chinese sausage, and is widely available in Asian grocers or the Asian ingredients aisle of major supermarkets.

Asian greens

  • A huge variety of Asian vegetables are available in the supermarket these days. They are easy to cook, healthy and full of flavour, and I think they are totally underrated; many people shy away from them simply because they don’t know what to do with them. Keep it simple is the key — less is more. All you need is a wok and a few ingredients, and the vegetables only need a quick stir-fry, so they stay crunchy and retain all their nutrients.

    The Asian greens used in this recipe are interchangeable with others, so mix and match however you like. A good tip is to soak them in a sink filled with tap water, with a tablespoon of salt. Any dirt or soil will get washed out and fall to the bottom of the sink, and the salt will kill any slugs or bugs hidden in the leaves.
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