Saturday, 2 April 2011

White Asparagus Experiment

I've bought white asparagus a few times in the past when they were on sale.  Since I'd no experience nor exposure to cooking with white asparagus, cooking this vegetable has been more of an experimental experience for me, even though recipes are available everywhere.  I decided this time around to cook something less conventional, Stir-Fried White Asparagus with Shrimp and Mushrooms in Green Curry Sauce.
I call this dish less conventional since white asparagus isn't traditionally identified with a curry dish, and I've associated only green asparagus with stir-fried dishes, such as my Mom's Stir-Fried Asparagus with Shrimp and Garlic which I do make occasionally as well.  I've discovered that, aside from the obvious colour, the differences of white asparagus from green asparagus are as follows:
  • White asparagus has a slightly bitter undertone;
  • It has a more fibrous texture; and
  • It is more brittle across the entire length, whereas green asparagus is tougher and more brittle at the lower ends of the stems.
Prior to cutting the white asparagus, I've prepared them by snapping off the lower stems which are by far the most fibrous, just like how I've prepared green asparagus.  However, considering how brittle white asparagus was, I must admit I won't be surprised if I've snapped off more of the white asparagus than necessary compared to green asparagus.

One (1) bunch white asparagus, cut diagonally into ~7-10cm lengths
~200g white mushrooms, sliced
12-16 shrimp, thawed and shelled
~100g basil
~15-30mL green curry paste
Cooking wine
~15mL corn starch
Vegetable oil
  1. Mix shrimp with corn starch, a splash of cooking wine, pepper and some cooking oil, and set aside.
  2. Heat wok over medium-high heat.  Add oil, mushrooms, asparagus and a pinch of salt, and stir-fry for ~4 minutes, covered.
  3. Remove lid, add shrimp and curry paste, toss and let cook covered until shrimp is fully cooked.
  4. Remove lid, add basil and toss.  Remove from heat and serve.

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