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Chinese greens

Award-winning food writer Fuchsia Dunlop demonstrates the perfect Chinese side dish, twice-cooked Swiss chard.

Chinese Greens

Fuchsia Dunlop is an award winning food writer, internationally renowned for her recipes and brilliant writing about Chinese food. The recipe comes from Fuchsia’s latest book, Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking.

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Tips and techniques

  1. Swiss chard is cheap and easy to find in supermarkets
  2. Heat the aromatic ingredients gently in the wok to coax out the flavours - take care not to burn them
  3. It's important not to overload the wok in Chinese cooking, otherwise the food won't cook evenly
  4. If you are using crispy vegetables in a stir fry, blanch them briefly first to reduce cooking time in the wok
  5. These Chinese greens are delicious served with steamed rice, or Thai fragrant rice. Or you can try them with a fried egg for lunch 


  • 400g thick-stemmed Swiss chard
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil, or 1 1/2 tbsp lard and 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Sichuanese chilli bean paste
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 100ml stock or water
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped celery (Chinese celery if possible)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens

Preparation method

Cut the dark green chard leaves away from the stems. Snap each stem into a few pieces, which will allow you to peel away and discard the stringy bits, as you would with celery

Bring a potful of water to a boil, add the stems and boil for about three minutes, until tender. Add the dark green leaves and boil for another minute or so until they are also cooked. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze the chard dry, then cut into bitesized lengths

Pour the oil into a seasoned wok over a medium flame, swirl it around, then add the chilli bean paste and stir-fry until it smells delicious and the oil is richly red. Add the garlic, ginger and black beans and stir-fry for a few moments more until you can smell their fragrances. Then add the stock, bring to a boil, tip in the chard and stir until it is piping hot once more

Finally, stir in the celery, coriander and spring onion, stir a few times, then serve

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