Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year's Spicy Sprout Tops Stir-fried in Chicken Fat

It's 2012, gosh how time flies.

At this time every year, there's a huge spike in the number of searches for things like 'diet' and "burning calories". I know because I have a friend who likes to spew out little Google trend facts like this. I don't know if many of you read my about or listen to your mummy pages, but this blog is as much about yummy food, and about health. Which, to me, shouldn't be that difficult because they go hand in hand. I don't believe in calories, or low carb, or low fat, I believe in just cooking and eating real food, and that's easily going to beat any microwaveable pizza nutrition-wise, taste-wise, and actually, budget-wise too.

Here's an example of something simple and good. We've probably all had more than enough of brussel sprouts from Christmas, but the sprout tops themselves are worth a second look. If you can't get hold of these, any cabbage will be delicious sliced thinly into ribbons and tossed in a quick stir-fry like so. And for a naughty kick, I used chicken fat (could very well be any leftover fat from roast turkey/pork/bacon drippings etc.) which is wonderful for flavour, great for the high heat stir-frying, and actually really quite healthy and not as naughty as we think.

Stir-fried Sprout Tops with Chilli and Ginger
serves 1-2 as a side dish
1 large bunch sprout tops
1 clove garlic
2 red chillies
1 inch piece of ginger
1 tbsp chicken fat (or choice of fat)
2-3 tbsp of stock (or water)
dash of good soy sauce, traditionally brewed and fermented
juice of half a small lemon

1. Pluck the leaves off the core and slice into thin ribbons, including the stalks (that's really the sweetest and crispest part!) Chop up the garlic, finely slice the chilli and ginger.
2. Melt fat in a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat, but do use a large pan so the vegetables can get tossed around and ultimately end up in your stomach instead of all over the stovetop.
4. Add the sprout tops, turn up the heat, then add a splash of stock or water. Keep everything moving, so nothing burns!
5. When almost all the liquid has disappeared, drizzle in the soy sauce form the side of the pan, do a final few tosses to mix everything.
6. Remove from heat, squeeze of lemon. Serve hot, with rice/noodles/fish/meat.

I just look at the colours and I want to eat my veg, not just to fulfill my 5-a-day. I think the whole idea is loving food for what it is.

Anyway, I was listening to this great vlog, and have decided my New Year's Resolution for 2012 is to be more me, to do what I really love and believe that by some unfathomable law of attraction or force of physics, that all things foodie and some things design will hence gravitate towards me, so that even though I'm probably not good enough to have my own cookbook or cafe, I may perhaps design cookbooks and cafe signs and napkins.


  1. I have never seen sprout tops for sale here in the US. I would think that chard would be a good substitute.

  2. Oh my gosh.... this looks so good. Very healthy too.

  3. delicious greens! yum yum!

  4. Aaah, another "top" which I didn't know one could eat and it turns out that you can. Good to know for when I grow stuff one day, although I've never seen them for sale. Indeed, I have a hard time finding any kind of green leafy stuff here except for cabbages. Can sometimes get a hold of Swiss Chard... I supposed that would work.

  5. What a great recipe to welcome 2012...so healthy yet delicious!
    Happy new year to you, Shu Han! More power!

  6. Thank you, Shu Han, for this amazing discovery! I have never even heard about sprout tops, not to mention tasting them. Are they simply the part of the Brussels sprouts which is usually not eaten? Your dish looks luscious and simple and I think I would put the goose fat I sometimes use and as you say, I could use any green leaf.
    I keep my fingers for your designing resolution!

  7. I so agree with you about the simple and good thing Shu Han...good food should be healthy without even trying...

    I haven't got any sprout tops but half a small pointy cabbage that would work great cooked this way...and anything with chilli and garlic works for me...yum...

  8. stephen: yup, or even thinly sliced cabbages!

    terry: thanks!

    anh: haha it's not often people have the same reaction to greens! yay

    charles: cabbages would work too! this is a really versatile way with any winter greens. sprout tops are often discarded from the brussel sprout stalks so we don't see them too much.

    tina: thanks tina!

    sissi: yup kind of, they shoot off the sprout stalk! goosefat sounds luscious. and thanks, I'm sure that will count towards that unfathomable forces(:

    debby: exactly! (: the cabbage will most definitely work, i love point cabbages. we call them sweetheart cabbages here.

  9. These look amazing! This dish would make me want to eat my veggies, too!

  10. Happy New Year Shu Han! What a beautiful color of green this sprout top offers! I love this simple dish. It must have great nutrients. I already love this dish. :-)

  11. Happy New Year! I really love this dish & often cook stir fried cabbage with chilli, but what I must now do is keep my chicken fat to fry it in. A revelation to me, and a very good one too, thanks!

  12. Love eating green like this!
    Happy new year!!

  13. autumn: great, I think pple shouldn't ever feel forced to eat veggies!

    nami: thanks nami, happy new year too!

    laura: yup, or any leftover fat. brilliant flavours, and much better for high heat stirfries!

    mycookinghut: thanks! happy new year to you too!