Quick Asparagus Stir-Fry
Asparagus in season is one of life’s great pleasures. In this Nepali stir-fry, it cooks in a simple flavor paste of cooked onion, garlic, and ginger. Rather than being masked, the asparagus comes through loud and strong and delicious against the background flavors.
Flowering Chive Stir-Fry: Chinese chives (also called flowering chives) also make a quick and attractive stir-fry. Begin with 3 bunches, cut into 1-inch lengths, to yield 3 cups. Heat 3 tablespoons oil, toss in ½ teaspoon fenugreek and 2 red cayenne chiles slit lengthwise, and stir-fry briefly. Add 1 teaspoon each minced garlic and ginger and ½ teaspoon turmeric, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Toss in the chives and ½ teaspoon each ground coriander, cumin, and salt, and stir-fry until softened (3 minutes or so).
Serves3 to 4
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date
Recipe Courseside dish
Dietary Considerationside dish
Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, spiced
Type of Dishvegetable
- ¾ pound asparagus (25 to 30 medium-thin spears)
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger or ginger mashed to a paste
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic or garlic mashed to a paste
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ cup water
Wash and drain the asparagus, then cut into approximately 1-inch lengths, discarding the tough thick bottom ends. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the ginger, garlic, and ground coriander. Set aside.
Heat a wide heavy skillet or a wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan, then add the fenugreek and stir. After about 20 seconds, add the sliced onion and stir-fry until softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the reserved flavor paste. Add the asparagus and sprinkle on the turmeric and salt.
Stir-fry for a minute to expose all the surfaces of the asparagus to the hot pan, then add the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook for a few minutes more (timing will vary depending on the thickness and freshness of the asparagus), until the asparagus is just tender. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Serve hot.
2005 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid