Sautéed bean sprouts and Chinese chives are a true comfort dish that every family in Saigon makes, says chef Eric Banh, co-owner with his sister, Sophie, of Seattle's Monsoon and Ba Bar restaurants. It's ultrasimple, deliciously crunchy, and ready in a flash. If you can't locate Chinese chives, use green onions instead.
1 tablespoon fish sauce, preferably Red Boat brand*
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 rounded tbsp. minced garlic
6 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and dried
5 ounces Chinese chives, ends trimmed, cut into 2-in. lengths, or green onions, dark green part only (cut lengthwise in half first)
Salt and pepper
How to Make It
Blend your cooking sauce: In a small bowl, mix together fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine.
Have your other ingredients lined up next to the stove: oil, garlic, bean sprouts, and Chinese chives.
Heat a large--12 inches or wider--heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Swirl in oil. Toss in garlic and fry, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds until it just begins to brown. Add bean sprouts and then cooking sauce, and fry, stirring and tossing, for about 90 seconds. Sprinkle in chives and cook, tossing well, for 30 to 60 seconds.
Remove pan from heat and stir in a couple of pinches of pepper, and salt to taste. Lift the sprouts out of the hot pan and onto a platter quickly, so they don't continue cooking.
*For finishing a dish, the Banhs like pungent, single-press Red Boat; find it at well-stocked grocery stores and Asian markets.