This long, leafy green veggie is called “kong xin tsai” in Mandarin and it translates into “hollow heart vegetable” because the stems are hollow. Look for it at your local Asian market, but if you can't find it feel free to substitute with your favorite type of leafy green, broccolini, or bok choy. This simple cooking method is sure to make any vegetable delectable! Serve as part of a spread of Chinese dishes such as seasoned tofu, dumplings, and steamed rice.

Sautéed Chinese Hollow-Stem Spinach (Kong Xin Tsai) [Vegan]

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  • 3 bunches of kong xin tsai (Chinese hollow-stem spinach)
  • 2-3 gloves of garlic, minced (use more if you like!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce


  1. Prep the kong xin tsai by first making sure to wash and rinse thoroughly. Cut the greens roughly in half so the are easier to handle. Separate the leaves from the stem and set aside in a separate bowl. Cut the stems into pieces about 2 inches long on the diagonal. Take the leaves and roughly cut them in half. Keep the stems and leaves separated.
  2. In a heated wok or frying pan, add the oil.
  3. Once the oil is heated, add the minced garlic. Cook until they begin to turn golden brown on the edges. Make sure to stir the garlic around so they don't burn.
  4. Add the stems only to the pan and stir to mix with the garlic. Add 2 teaspoons of water and stir again. Cover for about 1-2 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook for another minute until stems are tender.
  5. Add the leaves to the pan. Cook until the leaves are wilted. Remove the pan from heat.
  6. Lightly drizzle soy sauce over the greens, stir to mix, and serve with baked tofu, rice, and other Chinese dishes of your choosing.

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