With the onset of spring, things start stirring in the garden! Make the most of this abundant season by stocking up on the best springtime ingredients, including crunchy greens, mild onions and tender spring lamb, then turn them into an array of tempting Asian recipes. We give you the green light to get creative with spring ingredients.
With the first sign of sun, tender asparagus stems pop up from the soil, ready to grace your salads and stir-fries with grassy flavour and a crisp crunch. Keep it simple with this stir-fried asparagus with XO sauce recipe, or create a springtime canape with these apple and asparagus rolls.
Mild-flavoured bean sprouts are a popular garnish in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. No laksa or pho would be complete without a mop of crunchy bean sprouts on top. Or, try this cleansing Chinese recipe of stir-fried lettuce and bean sprouts, perfect as a side dish.
Did you know broccoli has more vitamin C than oranges? And that’s just one of this superfood’s many benefits. Add broccoli florets to stir-fries and curries, or pick up a bunch of Chinese broccoli for this hoi-sin stir-fry with prawns and ramen.
One of the first vegetables to emerge in spring, versatile chives are generally used as a garnish. Chinese flowering chives, or gau choy, are stronger in flavour, making them a must-have ingredient in these pork dumplings with prawn and chives.
In the protein department, lamb is the meat of the season. It’s sweet and tender, with not too much fat. For Sunday lunch, try this garlic-roasted soy sauce lamb, served with steamed Asian greens.
Snow peas offer a double whammy in spring. Use the crisp, crunchy snow pea pods in salads and noodle dishes, like this chicken, honey, soy and chilli stir-fry, or showcase the tender snow pea shoots in a simple Cantonese dish, like this cleansing steamed tofu with snow pea shoots and oyster sauce.
Buy the by the whole bunch, as you’ll be adding spring onions to everything this season. For full-on flavour, we love this Korean pajeon pancake, laced with spring onions and seafood.
The plumper cousin of the snow pea, sugar snap peas are extra crunchy and packed with flavour. Throw them into this springtime salad of somen noodles, eggplants, sugar snap peas and lime. Make a double batch for lunch the next day.
With its peppery leaf and crunchy stems, watercress is a member of the mustard family. The dark green leaves are packed with nutrients, adding a gentle heat to sandwiches and salads, such as this Vietnamese lemongrass beef recipe.
For more springtime inspiration, learn about six vegetables and herbs you can grow in your backyard, or try six light recipes for spring.
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