Nai Bai Cai (奶白菜) is known as Milk Cabbage or Bok Choi Sum though I think most of us just refer to it as Nai Bai most of the time. If you don’t take dried shrimp, just omit it as Nai Bai can simply be fried with garlic (清炒奶白) and it still makes for an aromatic dish to go along with other (meat) dishes (to go with rice).
If I’m not using dried shrimps, I’ll still fry my minced garlic golden brown then place it on top of the Nai Bai when serving. That’s my personal preference – you could do the usual stir-fry with garlic too (i.e. fry the garlic then add the vegetables).
I find that it’s hard to go wrong with Nai Bai, even if you’re a noob cook because first of all, it’s really easy to prepare. Just make sure you wash it thoroughly and trim off the base of the vegetable. Secondly, when you’re frying it, once the leaves wilt and turn a dark shade of green, you know they’re more or less done. Do a taste test to check your desired level of bite you like for the stem portion, add your seasoning of choice and it’s done!
Sounds simple enough? Yeah, just make sure you buy more of it because it shrinks quite a fair bit and you might not have enough of it!
- 1 packet of nai bai from the supermarket (I sometimes buy the organic ones from the organic shop near me)
- a couple of cloves of garlic, minced (about 2-3 teaspoons)
- olive oil
- about 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
- ¼ bowl of water (I'm using a 300ml bowl)
- salt/ fish sauce/ light soy sauce to taste
- Rinse the dried shrimp thoroughly and soak in ¼ bowl of water for about 15 min. Drain and reserve the water for later use.
- Remove any wilted leaves and slice off the base of the veggie. Wash thoroughly in case dirt is trapped in the leaves.
- Place the garlic and oil in a microwave safe bowl (loosely cover with microwave safe wrap and leave one corner uncovered) and heat for about 2-3min, stopping every about 1min and opening the microwave to prevent the oil for overheating. Once the garlic is a nice golden brown, you can stop cooking it. Alternatively, just fry garlic in oil in a wok (I was doing a batch of garlic oil for the whole day's worth of cooking so I used the microwave). 😛
- Heat the garlic oil in wok and add in dried shrimp. Fry till fragrant.
- Add the nai bai and fry for a short while before adding in the dried shrimp water.
- Cover wok and simmer till vegetables are cooked.
- Add seasoning to taste.
- Dish and top with crispy garlic bits.