I love boiled vegetables. I can eat broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, kailan, and most other vegetables simply boiled or steamed, without any other seasonings. The rest of my family think I am crazy- you know the Chinese, they gotta stir fry their vegetables, even lettuce– and insist that I am “doing this” because I am trying to lose weight, but no.. I really, really enjoy eating vegetables plain. I am super low maintenance like that.
So I was in the mood for some crunchy kailan stems the other day. Much as I would love to serve blanched kailan (because it is delicious) to the two old ladies at home, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t want to risk them worrying if I was so broke that I could only put boiled veggies on the table. I ended up doing a garlic sambal prawn and kailan stir-fry. You know, prawn= expensive= she-can-still-afford-it so they can sleep at night. They also finished up a huge bowl of rice each and kept telling me, “好吃，好吃。” (“yummy, yummy.”) I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard that if it had just been plain kailan.
This dish works better if you use medium to large-sized prawns as they match with kailan better. I didn’t have those but I had a huge packet of smaller prawns in my freezer (very handy to add to noodle dishes!) so I used those. One tip to not over spend when preparing meals is to work with what you already have in your kitchen. You can also use more sambal according to your tastebuds. I am an advocate of bottled pastes and sauces because they save me so much time. If you’re someone who’s into pounding and frying your own sambal, will you send some my way? :)