The delicate spiraling vines (shoots) and uppermost leaves of a young pea plant. Tender in texture, the shoots provide a sweet flavor that is a cross between the taste of peas and spinach with a hint of watercress. Although pea shoots can be harvested from any variety of pea, the most commonly harvested are those from immature snow peas. They are added to stir-fries just before serving, sauteed as you would other greens in oil and seasonings (such as salt, garlic and sherry), or they are served as fresh ingredients in salads. The Cantonese name for pea shoots is "dau miu".
Pea shoots are available in Chinese markets in the spring. Place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for one or two days. It is best when used the same day of purchasing. Do not wash until just before using.
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