Shoots of a plant

I’ve spent most of my adult life traveling to, from, and around Asia—partly for fun and partly as a travel writer. At every Chinese meal, I always crave one dish: pea shoots, a.k.a. dou miao in Mandarin. Tender and sweet, the leaves, stems, and tendrils of the pea plant are delicate enough to eat raw, yet retain springtime-evoking qualities when cooked. To prepare the shoots (or really any hardy spring green) for four, sauté 2 dried red chiles and 3 or 4 smashed garlic cloves in a glug of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add 3/4 lb. pea shoots and cook, tossing often, until the leaves barely wilt. Season with salt and you’ve got an easy dish so versatile it goes with any cuisine.

Tips on buying pea shoots, according to assistant food editor Claire Saffitz:

____”Young pea shoots include the stem, leaves, and twisting tendrils; find them at specialty grocers, Asian markets, and farmstands. Pea sprouts (skinny stems, tiny leaves) are the immature tips of the shoots, and can replace shoots in a pinch.”

Get the recipe: Stir-Fried Pea Shoots

Last summer, or maybe the one before, I got a bit over-excited about pea shoots – the growing tips of the pea plant – and suggested they would soon be available in supermarkets.

I didn’t go as far as to call them the new rocket, but it was on the tip of my tongue. Now, of course, pea shoots are popping up in bags in the major stores and many other places, too, all washed and ready for us to eat. I wish I could predict my lottery numbers so easily.

I have been growing my own, too, just scattering a handful over a shallow tray of compost. They are up in a couple of weeks, and ready to eat after a month or so. Initially I used them solely as a salad ingredient, tossing the tips and their curling tendrils in with butterhead lettuce as soft as down, and a handful of sprouting green-and-white mung beans that catch in the furrows of the lettuce leaves. They need very little dressing. In fact, they are inclined to become a bit squishy if you go overboard with the oil and lemon.

You can cook with them, if you have enough, but they tend to do the spinach trick, disappearing in seconds. I add them as the very last ingredient so they have just enough time to wilt and take on a darker colour. The pea flavour becomes a little insignificant, but all the fresh greenness of something young and nubile is there on your fork.

I’m sure people have always eaten pea tips, though it only really crossed my mind when I saw some in a smart New York food store five years ago, sold on their thick sheet of cotton wool. You couldn’t get them home without them ending up looking a little worse for wear. We are talking about a salad ingredient as fragile as a butterfly wing.

If you ask me what are the most exciting changes in the food world it would be the number of salad ingredients that are available now – from radicchio to trevise, sprouted radish to pumpkin shoots, and that’s without even mentioning the myriad lettuces that are around. Pea shoots are another opportunity to indulge in all that is green and fresh.

Shop-bought shoots are one thing, but finding pea-sticks to grow my own up led me on a merry old dance this year. Could I find any? Yes, bundles of them there for the asking, if I was willing to get into a car and drive to the nearest hazel coppice. But if you are going to do that you might as well go for the heavy eco-footprint of a bamboo cane. Urban garden centres are far more interested in selling you a petunia than a pea-stick. Having finally tracked them down at the sort of inflated price urban gardeners take for granted, I now have several rows of peas clinging on for dear life.

This year I have grown two new heritage varieties of peas, and am looking forward to a soup of them with mint, and even more so to popping them as I write. Pea recipes tend to take up all you can grow in a small vegetable patch, but luckily there are plenty of locally grown about right now. In many ways this spring was perfect pea-growing weather, but it is not too late to put a row or two in, if only for the curling shoots to toss into a salad.

Steamed fish with ginger and pea shoots

Just as you might wilt watercress with a warm dressing, pea shoots can be treated much the same. Add them to a steamed fish for the last few minutes of cooking and they become meltingly soft. Serves 2.

1 medium-sized sea bass

a fat, thumb-sized piece of ginger

3 spring onions

1 star anise

200ml chicken stock

2 handfuls pea shoots

dark soy sauce

Make the broth: peel the ginger then slice the flesh into pieces no thicker than pound coins. Cut these into matchstick-like shreds. Shred the spring onions.

Put the ginger and spring onions into a deep pan with the star anise and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.

Place a large, deep plate – big enough to hold the fish – in a large steaming basket over a pan of boiling water. (You can also use a wok with a stand inside it to hold the plate.) Lower the fish on to the plate then pour over the stock. Cover with the steamer lid, or, if you are using a wok, place a dome of kitchen foil over the top.

Leave the fish to steam for about 10-12 minutes, until the flesh slides easily away from the bone. The exact timing will depend on the size of your fish. Add the pea shoots and cover once again, then steam for a further minute or two till the pea shoots have started to wilt. Shake a few drops of dark soy sauce over the fish as you serve.

Chicken with pea shoots and chilli

450g boned chicken meat

3 tbsp groundnut oil

3 cloves garlic

a large thumb-sized lump of ginger

2 small, hot red chillies

2 spring onions

125g pea shoots

fresh coriander

Cut the meat into small, bite-sized pieces.

Get the wok really hot and pour in the groundnut oil. As soon as it starts to smoke, lower in the chicken. Beware, it might pop and spit a bit. Let the chicken cook, moving it round the pan from time to time, till it has coloured nicely on the outside.

While the chicken is cooking, peel and finely chop the garlic cloves, peel and mince the ginger and seed and chop the chillies. Chop the spring onions finely.

When the chicken is pretty much cooked, add the garlic, ginger, chillies and spring onions and stir them round with the chicken till the garlic is just starting to brown.

Add the pea shoots (it will seem like a lot at first, but they will shrink in a minute or two). As soon as they are tender and dark green – a matter of 2 minutes – add a handful of coriander and serve.

Lentil salad, pea shoots and coriander

There is little point in using a heavy or complex dressing with these tender shoots, but a clean-tasting mixture of lime juice and olive oil works very well. Serves 2.

75g small green lentils such as lentils de Puy

200g shelled peas

8 spears asparagus

a small bunch of coriander

3 tbsp and a little extra olive oil

1 tbsp lime juice

80g pea shoots

Rinse the lentils in a sieve under running water, tip them into a pan of boiling, lightly salted water. Leave them at an enthusiastic simmer for about 20-25 minutes until they

are tender, then drain, tip into a bowl and stir a little olive oil through them.

Boil the peas and asparagus in lightly salted water till tender, drain under cold running water and mix with the lentils. Pull the coriander leaves from their stalks but keep them whole, and fold them gently into the lentils with the olive oil and lime juice.

Rinse the pea shoots and toss them gently with the warm lentils and peas,

What to do with pea shoots? These Rockland chefs know


Chefs are praised for cooking seasonally, even expected to do so. But when it comes to our own groceries and meal routines, we tend toward the familiar, even if that means eating a flavorless tomato in the middle of March.

The Rockland Farm Alliance hopes to change that thinking, starting with the first local produce to appear in early spring: pea shoots.

RFA, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Rockland farmland, has grown pea shoots for a select group of local chefs and is challenging them to create an exciting dish using the early spring harvest, to be featured on their menus on March 23.

Communal Kitchen, 8 North Broadway, Hudson House, all in Nyack, have accepted the challenge, as have Mimi’s Plate in Tappan, Rockland Roots in Valley Cottage, and La Talaye Catering, which will showcase pea shoots at the Nyack and Piermont (The Souk) farmers markets.

The best part: these chefs’ answers to the pea shoot challenge can be your inspiration. Dine at the restaurant and see what they can do with these tender greens, or use their ideas as a springboard for your own cooking.

Here’s the lineup:

Mimi’s Plate: pea shoots in a salad with chiogga beets, fennel and feta with dried cherries and sesame seeds in an aleppo-moscatel vinaigrette.

8 North Broadway: Pea shoot falafel with chick peas and sweet peas, served with a pea shoot salad and tzatziki.

Hudson House: Pea shoot pesto, where pea shoots will act as primary herb along with hazelnuts or walnuts, garlic and cheese.

Communal Kitchen: a spring pea medley, with peas two or three different ways, featuring a spring pea flan.

Rockland Roots: Chilled spring pea soup with pea shoots, mint, basil, coconut milk and spring radish.

La Talaye Catering: Pea shoots with sweet potato noodles with tamari sauce.

Kris Burns, a spokesperson for Rockland Farm Alliance, says the idea is to demystify the inherent challenge of CSA (community supported agriculture) programs: getting inspired by what is fresh and local before deciding what to cook, rather than finding the recipe and then checking ingredients off the list. Pea shoots are among the very first ingredients to appear locally.

Opening alert: Rockland Roots Kitchen, Valley Cottage

“There are all these chefs who cook and work seasonally and work the way we all should,” says Burns. She says cooking seasonally can be daunting to many home cooks, but eventually you start to see how you can be flexible when you’re cooking with ingredients like rutabaga, beets, radishes or pea shoots.

“Suddenly you’re falling in love with this ingredient you never would have purchased,” she says.

Members of the Rockland Farm Alliance CSA program receive weekly baskets of 8 to 10 pounds of farm-fresh, local, seasonal produce, herbs and flowers. Prices start at $790 for the season, and go down depending on whether the share is pre-packaged, pickup, a work-share or a cut-your-own.

“The footprint is next to nothing,” Burns says. “This food is being grown miles from the farmers market.”

If you go…

Communal Kitchen: 162 Main Street, Nyack, 845-535-3133.

8 North Broadway: 8 N. Broadway, Nyack, 845-353-1200.

Hudson House: 134 Main St., Nyack, 845-353-1355.

Mimi’s Plate: 33 Old Tappan Rd., Tappan, 845-359-6464.

Rockland Roots Kitchen: 753 Route 9W, Valley Cottage, 845-671-1144.

La Talaye Catering: Pomona, 845-304-2998.

Rockland Farm Alliance at Cropsey Community Farm, 220 S. Little Tor Road, New City, 845-634-3167.


Hudson House is serving its pea shoot pesto at a Rockland Farm Alliance gathering upstairs on March 23, which will be featuring other local ingredients such as pain au levain bread from Handsome Bread made in Nyack. This bread is now available for pre-order and pick up at Cropsey farm.

An open house will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 19 at Cropsey Farm, where Handsome Bread will be bringing their portable, wood-fired oven and making pizza. Rockland Foragers will be leading foraging tours of the farm, and everyone will help plant a crop of sugar snap peas.

Photo via .com

If you grow peas, it is entirely worthwhile to harvest both their pods and their delicious, delicate greens. The shoots, which are the tender tips of the vines, including the leaves, stems, flower blossoms, and tendrils, make the most fantastic and unexpected salad greens.

They taste like peas, but with a wonderful grassy, green flavor that is all their own. I grow peas in containers and harvest them exclusively for the shoots (really, they are that good), but you can certainly harvest shoots from plants that you are growing for pods as well.

To harvest shoots, start at the top of a pea vine. Gently grab it by its tip and follow the stem downwards, stopping just above the second leaf down. Now take a close peek at that leaf. Right at the point where it joins the main stem you will see a teensy tiny chartreuse green nubbin. Pinch right above it.

That little nubbin is a pea shoot that is just waiting to happen. When you pinch the growth above it off, that sends a signal to the plant to make the little nub grow into a new shoot!

I think the shoots of sugar snap peas taste the sweetest, but you can eat the shoots of any edible pea variety. (Note: the shoots of sweet pea flowers are not edible.)

If you want to grow peas for their pods and shoots, start by sowing peas close together—just one inch apart and deep. Once the pea seedlings pop out of the ground and grow about 4 to 6 inches tall, go through and thin out every other plant by pinching them off right at the soil line. Voila! This is your first harvest of pea shoots. Leave the remaining plants to grow. When they get about knee high, go through and pinch off the tips. Then, let them grow and harvest the pods. When your pea plants begin to yellow, go through and pinch off all the tips before you pull them out and compost them.

To grow peas exclusively for their shoots, plant them in a container that is at least 12 inches deep (see picture, below). Sow the seeds 1 inch apart in all directions and 1 inch deep. When they reach about 8 inches tall, pinch them back. The shoots will soon re-grow and you can pinch them back again.

Willi Galloway is the author of Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, and she writes about organic vegetable gardening and seasonal cooking on her blog,DigginFood.

Pea Shoots: The Taste of Spring

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: Get ideas for maximizing pea shoots’ short season with a week’s worth of meals, and learn how to extend it by growing your own.

Shop the Story

Pea shoots come from none other than the pea plant. Shocker, right? Usually the delicate tendrils come from snow or sugar snap pea varieties, but any garden pea variety will produce them. It may seem like pea shoots have always been a part of your spring menu — but at least in the United States, they’ve only been dressing up our plates for a couple of decades. In Leafy Greens, Mark Bittman writes that “pea shoots were “discovered” by chefs and soon thereafter by home cooks in 1992.”

To stem any confusion, the pea shoots we’re talking about today are made up of a few inches of delicate leaves (1), tendrils (2), and occasionally buds or blossoms; you’ll find them as pea tendrils, pea greens, or pea tips, too. A mixup can occur, though, when you find pea sprouts mislabeled as pea shoots. The sprouts are lighter green and are generally a long thin stem and two tiny leaves; pea shoots are a further along, more mature version of the plant.

More: Pea shoots make it official — spring has sprung. It’s time to plan your spring soirée.

What to Look For and How to Store
Choose pea shoots that look fresh and are free from bruised, wilted, or discolored leaves. Given their short season, your best bet for finding pea shoots will be to visit your farmers market — though you might find them at a Chinese market or restaurant, as well. It’s easy to visually tell the difference between pea shoots and pea sprouts if you’re shopping at the market, but take heed if you’re ordering take-out. The naming confusion continues: pea shoots’ Chinese names (dou miao and dau miu) can refer to either the sprouts or the shoots.

Once you track them down, use your pea shoots quickly — within a day or two. Wrap them in a paper towel and place them in an open plastic bag (3) in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to use them, gently wash and discard any large stems.

How to Grow Your Own
Make the most of your kitchen, and have pea shoots on hand at all times by growing your own — The Yellow House walks you through the process step-by-step. Just make sure you stick to your windowsill for the optimal growing location. Given that pea shoots are the precursors to pea pods, if you’re growing peas outside in your garden, practice restraint when harvesting tendrils. Take too many, and you’ll compromise the number of pods you get later.

How to Use
Pea shoots are best handled with a light touch. Their delicate crunch and sweet flavor make a snappy addition to salads, sandwiches, or as a garnish for pretty much anything. Or, lightly cook them with garlic and give scrambled eggs a springy twist. We’ve had multiple discussions on the Hotline that are packed with suggestions, and we’ve got a week’s worth of options, too:

Saturday: Pea Shoot and Baby Arugula Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Sunday: Slow Cooked Salmon Filets with Savory Sweet Pea Shoot Soy Sauce
Monday: Three Peas in a Pot
Tuesday: Fava Bean and Pea Shoot Salad — either with Asparagus or Avocado
Wednesday: Baby Spinach and Pea Shoot Salad with a Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Thursday: Ramped Up Crostini with Ricotta and Pea Shoots
Friday: Pea Shoots and Sugar Snaps with Preserved Lemon Cream

What are your favorite ways to use pea shoots? We’re planning to kick off the weekend with a peatini.

Photos by James Ransom

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How to Grow Pea Shoots

posted by Jaden

What you’ll learn:

  • Step by step, how to grow pea shoots
  • What you MUST do to prevent dangerous contamination
  • Why coconut coir, seedlings pads do not work for pea shoots
  • Recipe for simple pea shoots stir fry

We love growing microgreens! They are not only highly nutritious, but also so simple to grow. No garden required. Just a sunny spot anywhere in your house. Of all the microgreens we grow, my favorite has to be pea shoots. I love the delicate, pea-flavored shoots to add to salads, sandwiches, tacos, as a topping for soups — basically anytime I want an extra boost of nutrients.

We also let the pea microgreens grow a little longer, a little taller, and harvest them as “pea shoots,” and stir-fry them Chinese style. Though you can eat the pea shoots raw, in salads, just like microgreens.

A big thank you to Mercola for sending us lots of seeds to play with!

Step 1: Soak the Pea Shoot Seeds

The first step is to start with good seeds. We use High Mowing Organic Pea Shoots exclusively. They are certified organic, non-GMO.

The seeds need to be soaked in clean, cool water for 8-24 hours. Allow enough water and have a big enough container for the peas to nearly double in size.


2 cups pea shoots + 4 cups water for a 10×20 tray.


Pea shoots nearly double in size.

Step 2: Spread 1-inch thick of organic potting soil into a large tray. We use re-usable 10″x20″ standard plastic seeding tray (called “1020 trays.”) You can use any type of large, shallow tray, even a baking sheet would work, as long as it will hold 1″ of potting soil.

Growing Medium for Pea Shoots

For our microgreens, we’ve tried:

  • Growing pads (too expensive, non-organic, non-compostable)
  • Micro-Mats (organic, but fall apart too easily when wet, expensive)
  • Coconut Coir (organic, very messy, slow to decompose, may contain high concentration of salt, which is not good for plants)

For pea shoots – the larger, faster growing plants that we grow beyond the “microgreen stage” – we prefer to use potting soil, which includes soil + vermiculite + other organic compost (such as worm castings, compost.) Pea shoots will require the nutrients in soil. They will not thrive in the growing pads or coir.

When growing shoots or microgreens, we always recommend organic, nutrient and microorganism-rich soil.

What you must avoid:

Any soil containing chicken or cow manure, which could lead to very dangerous contamination. Shoots and microgreens are extra-susceptible to contamination – because the parts we eat are so close to the soil and especially in a warm, humid, moist conditions.

The soil we use:

Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement from Mercor which is:

  1. Sustainable Biochar – Provides inorganic carbon that builds soil and acts as a nearly permanent “sponge” to absorb nutrients and water and creates a friendly home for microorganisms.
  2. Organic Compost – Provides immediate soil food with organic carbon, building soil tilth and humus.
  3. Organic Worm Casings – Provides nutrients, enzymes, and improves soil structure.
  4. Organic Kelp Meal – Adds the slowly dissolving nutritional benefits of ocean plants and helps with nitrogen in the soil.

It’s natural and compostable: After harvesting the pea shoots, the soil added to our garden compost.

After spreading soil:

Drain the water from the seeds. Scatter the seeds evenly and in one layer, all over the tray.

Step 3: Water, Mist and Cover

Water the the sprouts and soil feels damp (not soaking wet.)

Use a second tray and spray the inside of the second tray with water. Place tray upside down on top of first tray to create darkness and humidity.

Place tray in a warm (70F is ideal), dark place. Every day, spray the second tray and recover – to maintain the humidity. If you live in a colder environment, place try on top of refrigerator (you may want to cover everything with a dark cloth to keep sunlight out), for added heat. Avoid sunlight. We’ve also used a Seedling Heating Mat with great success when the temperature dips too low.

We currently have our pea shoots on a heating mat, as last night, it dipped to freezing here in Florida (rare, but it happens!)

After 2-3 days, the pea shoots will have germinated.

Uncover and move the tray into light, like a windowsill, or outside enclosed patio if the weather is nice and cool. While peas germinate best in warmer environment, peas grow after germination in cooler temperature, below 70F. Try to avoid placing the tray out in the open – as birds and unwanted critters will delight in the treat and possibly contaminate with excrement.

Step 4: Continue Watering Using Thumb Test

For the next 7-10 days, you’ll water the pea shoots by using the thumb test.

Use your thumb to press against the top of the soil. If your thumb comes off clean and dry, water the peas. If your thumb comes off even slightly moist or with a little soil, you’re good until tomorrow.

Another test is to lift the tray. As you gain experience with growing microgreens and shoots in the container, you’ll be aware of how heavy/light the tray is. Light trays means it probably needs water.

If you are growing on a windowsill, or where there you have light coming in from just one side, you will want to rotate the trays so that the shoots will get sunlight more evenly.

Step 5: Harvest Pea Shoots

When do you harvest the shoots? Whenever you want to.

You can even harvest them after their first two true leaves appear as microgreens. What’s the difference between cotyledons vs. microgreens?

If you wait a few more days, the pea will begin growing taller and become what we call “pea shoots.” We like to harvest them when they reach between 6″ – 10″ above the soil.

If you peek at the root structure, you’ll see that the pea shoots have taken hold of the soil. If we would have used coconut coir or growing pads, the pea shoots would not thrive in those environments – and would require supplemental feeding. So, you might as well start them in soil to avoid the extra step of feeding.

To harvest, we use a pair of kitchen shears, and give the pea shoots a “haircut.” We cut 1″-2″ above the seed. We don’t want to bring any of the soil in the harvest. We are very careful to only harvest the tops and not touch the soil or seeds. This reduces any further risk of contamination – like bacteria.

You’ll get plenty! Our 10″x20″ tray yielded about 2 pounds of pea shoots.

How to store pea shoots

Store harvested pea shoots in resealable bags in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat. TIP: we do not wash the pea shoots until ready to cook. The extra water from washing will deteriorate the pea shoots faster. Keep the shoots dry. Just use a gallon-sized resealable bag. The pea shoots should stay fresh for over 2 weeks! If you find that there is moisture in the bag, take a single paper towel,

If you’re curious, this is what the root and seed looks like. Strong and healthy, and our flock of hens love picking through the cuttings. Will they grow shoots again? No, not if you’ve cut all of the leaves off of the stems. Perhaps, if you gave a shallow “haircut” to the pea shoots, and only cut off the tips, you might continue to grow pea shoots to harvest another batch. However, we have not tried this.

I would strongly avoid eating the pea next to the root – not only has the nutritional value been sapped already, but it’s been in direct contact with the moist soil.

We’ve made . It’s a very simple, delicious way to enjoy pea shoots!

If you are interested in growing Pea Shoots, Mercola has an entire kit, including the Sprout Doctor Soil for sale here.

We are also giving away a “Grow Microgreens” Kit from Mercola to several lucky winners! Come enter the giveaway here.

posted in Grow, Homestead, Microgreens

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Tender crisp stir-fried pea shoots with plenty of aromatics to create a mouth-watering dish that you can’t stop eating. The post includes all the notes and tips to walk you through the process step-by-step to create a restaurant-style result. {Vegan, Gluten-Free adaptable}

Whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant, a plate of freshly stir-fried leafy green vegetables is a must-have. Among all the veggie dishes, stir-fried pea shoots with garlic sauce is one of the most popular.

While living in Austin, it was quite difficult to get fresh Asian greens. The situation improved a lot when we moved to New York. Last week we finally settled down and started to explore Chinatown. I was delighted to find that there are various markets and street vendors that sell Asian greens and veggies that I ate growing up. The variety is so good that I kind of planned out a month’s worth of meals that I’m going to make.

Of course, the first dish I planned to do was stir-fried pea shoots, since I’ve been craving it for a while.

Why the restaurant version tastes so good

It might look like a super simple dish, but in fact, there is quite some effort that goes into it. And there are some restaurant tricks that make the dish taste extremely good. For example:

  • Restaurants will use either chicken fat or MSG (or both) to boost the flavor, so the result will be addictively tasty. If you’re wondering, “Wow, why don’t my homemade veggies ever taste like that?!”. That’s probably why.
  • The restaurant version uses a lot of oil and salt.
  • They also use a wok over very high heat to sear the veggies to create a heavenly smokiness.

Cooking notes

When it comes to developing a recipe for home cooks, I try to make the process approachable but still yield a great result.

1. Use extra aromatics

I avoid using MSG as much as possible for everyday cooking. And I don’t want to go to all the trouble to source or make chicken fat. That’s why I increased the amount of aromatics in this dish to boost the taste. I also added a splash of Shaoxing wine for extra richness.

2. Oil amount

Unfortunately, there is no great way to yield a restaurant-style result with less oil. When you use more oil, the veggies get seared faster (instead of getting steamed) and doing so creates a velvety smooth texture. If 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil is too much for you, you can reduce it to 1 tablespoon and still produce a pretty good result. For a healthier approach, you can further reduce to 1/2 tablespoon oil. But the dish will taste less rich this way.

3. Salt

Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt like the recipe suggests to create a restaurant-like taste. If you’re worried about sodium intake, I recommend reducing the salt to 1/8 teaspoon. Since we are using a lot of aromatics, the veggies will still come out flavorful.

On a totally different note: if you don’t need to create a vegan or vegetarian dish, you can reduce the salt and add 1/4 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder to boost the flavor as well.

4. How to buy pea shoots that are tender

My mom always reminds me, try to find pea shoots with bigger, fatter stems. Because the younger, smaller pea shoots have a tougher texture. When the pea shoots grow bigger, the stems become hollow and turn crisp.

5. Before rinsing the pea shoots

This is the part that requires some extra effort and time when it comes to cooking with Asian greens. You should always work on the veggies one at a time and snip off the tough parts to yield the best result.

Transfer the pea shoots onto your working surface. Work on them one stem at a time. Use your finger to feel the ends. The pea shoot stem should be crisp and break apart easily. Snip off and discard any part that feels tough, meaning if you bend it and it doesn’t break. If the pea shoot is too long, break it in two so it’s easier to bite.

I know this sounds like a lot of work. Plus, sometimes you can get very lucky and all the pea shoots will be crispy and tender. For example, last time I cooked half a pound of pea shoots, I discarded only a very small handful of stems (see the picture below). You might be able to get away without doing this step, but taking the time to sort them will generate a better result.

6. Do not cook too much at a time

Another thing that my mom keeps reminding me – never crowd your pan and cook too many veggies at a time.

If you’re using a large wok, it’s possible to cook 1 pound (450 grams) of pea shoots at a time. But unless you’re using a very powerful gas stove, your veggies risk being steamed instead of seared.

If you’re like most home cooks and have an electric stove or less powerful gas stove, you don’t want to cook too much at a time. For example, when I made this dish I used a fairly powerful portable gas stove and a large carbon steel pan. I only cooked half a pound (225 grams) of pea shoots. You can see in the picture below, the pea shoots took up most of the pan, even after they were cooked and had shrunk. The cooking took about a minute and the veggies were beautifully seared.

7. What pan to use

I talked about this in detail in a previous post. Long story short, I always prefer to use a heavy duty nonstick pan or carbon steel pan (which I did) instead of a wok. Because you can heat up these types of pans more thoroughly in a home kitchen.

You might ask, won’t a wok hold the veggies better and prevent them from spilling onto the counter? The answer is yes and no. It might look like a lot of veggies are in the pan when you’ve just added them. Try to do a folding motion with your spatula in the beginning. The veggies will shrink and just cover the bottom of your pan after a few seconds. Then you can use a stirring motion for the rest of the cooking.


Sometimes I feel like it’s too much work to make such a simple dish at home. Even though the stir-frying process only takes about a minute, the prep and setup take way more time. However, once I bite into a freshly cooked pea shoot, I realize it was worth all the trouble. It’s such a delicious way to enjoy a plate of veggies that is just as good as eating in a restaurant.

More Chinese veggie recipes

  • Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans
  • Stir Fried Bitter Melon with Fermented Black Beans
  • Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy with Gluten Balls
  • Chinese broccoli with Mushrooms
  • Cabbage Glass Noodles Stir Fry

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Stir-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic (蒜蓉炒豆苗)

Tender crisp stir-fried pea shoots with plenty of aromatics to create a mouth-watering dish that you can’t stop eating. The post includes all the notes and tips to walk you through the process step-by-step to create a restaurant-style result. {Vegan, Gluten-Free adaptable}Use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine for a gluten-free dish.
5 from 1 vote Pin Course: Side Cuisine: Chinese Keyword: restaurant-style Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 17 minutes Servings: 2 to 4 servings Calories: 77kcal Author: Maggie Zhu



  • If time allows, snip the tough ends off the pea shoots to yield the best result – transfer the pea shoots onto your working surface. Work on them one stem at a time. Use your finger to feel the ends. The pea shoot stem should be crisp and break apart easily. Snip off and discard any part that feels tough, meaning if you bend it and it doesn’t break. If the pea shoot is too long, break it in two so it’s easier to bite.
  • Once you’ve done the first step, rinse the pea shoots with running water and gently rub with your fingers to remove any dirt. Drain and set aside. Note, it’s OK if the pea shoots are not completely dry.
  • Heat the oil in a wok (or large carbon steel pan, or nonstick pan) over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the fragrance.
  • Add the snow pea shoots. Fold with your spatula to coat well with oil. Pour in Shaoxing wine and sprinkle with salt. Stir a few more times to mix well, until the pea shoots are just withered. The whole process should take a minute or so. Immediately transfer everything to a plate.
  • Serve hot as a side.


  1. The prescribed amount of oil yields a restaurant-style result. You can reduce the oil to 1 tablespoon and still yield a good result.
  2. When you shop for pea shoots, try to find the type with bigger and fatter stems, so the result will be tenderer.
  3. The original 1/4 teaspoon of salt yields a restaurant-style result. Reduce the salt to 1/8 teaspoon for a low-sodium dish. The dish will remain tasty.


Serving: 4g | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.8g | Protein: 1.8g | Fat: 5.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.9g | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 2.2g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.9mg

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Pea Shoots

General Information

Pea shoots—also known as pea sprouts—are the young leaves and stem of traditional garden pea plants. While a pea plant can take 60-70 days to mature, pea shoots are harvested after just 2-4 weeks. They are very young and tender, with a distinctive, sweet pea flavor. Though the origins of the pea plant is unknown, it is likely one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world. Remnants of pea plants have been found in Switzerland dating back to the Bronze Age and in an Egyptian tomb at Thebes. In many cultures, peas were originally grown for their dried seeds due to the belief that green, or fresh, peas were poisonous. Fresh-shelled green peas did not appear in European cuisine until after the Norman Conquest of England. By the end of the 16th century green peas were a common vegetable across most of Europe. Their seeds were brought to North America by early colonists, where the plant flourished.
Pea shoots, however, are a very popular traditional dish from Asia. Originating in China, Hmong immigrants brought pea shoot cuisine with them as they settled in present-day Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in the early 1800s. The descendants of these immigrants then fled to America as refugees during the 1970s, further spreading this traditional food.Pea shoots are a very versatile vegetable. They are a delicious addition to any salad or stir-fry, and can also be added to sandwiches or cooked with chicken or fish

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling: Rinse gently in cold water before use. Because pea shoots are harvested so young, both the leaves and stem are tender and edible.
Storing: Fresh pea shoots should store for over a week in a sealed plastic bag, but they are best when eaten fresh. Freezing is not recommended.

Snow Pea Leaves Stir-Fry

2-ingredient Chinese Snow Pea Leaves Stir-Fry that will pair beautifully with any proteins. It takes mere minutes to cook, and is a great way to incorporate a vast volume of greens into a meal without evening realizing it. And the light garlic sauce is fabulous!

Snow pea leaves in Chinese/Mandarin –

In Mandarin Chinese snow pea leaves is 豆苗 . They are found most often in Chinese grocery stores between January and March season.

What are snow pea leaves/snow pea tips/Chinese pea shoots

Snow pea leaves also known as snow pea tips or Chinese pea shoots grow from the stalks of the plant when the pods are nearing completion. The fact that the leaves and stalks are actually edible and are absolutely delicious is still overlooked by many cooks.

The pea leaves and stems, when they are harvested early, they are not just tender but also crisp and very tasty.

How do you clean snow pea leaves

Give the pea leaves a nice rinse and wash in room temperature or slightly cold water. Drain them well. You can also use a salad spinner, too.

If you select them well, the pea shoot stems are just as tender as the leaves so don’t throw away the stems unless the stems feel tough or brittle to your hands or look dry. In that case, nip a small tougher bits away. Break off any flowers or curly tendrils and discard those as well. If the leafy parts look wilted or soiled, discard that, too. These delicate greens wilt quickly so it’s best to cook them fairly soon (within 1-2 days) after you purchase from the store.

How to select tender snow pea leaves

In most Chinese markets, snow pea leaves/tips are sold in bags with the tougher parts already removed so all you need is to wash the vegetables and drain well before sauteing.

The best way to select young and tender snow pea leaves is to look for bags that don’t contain too many of the curly tendrils or bubbling flowers as those are tough to chew and it’s an indication that the snow pea tips aren’t harvested while they are the most tender.

Look for bright pea green vibrant looking leaves, avoid brown or mushy parts. Also avoid stem parts that look dry and brittle as those will be tough to chew.

Snow pea leaves nutrition

According to Berkeley wellness, Snow pea leaves have good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, and fiber. They can also help boost our immunity. Pea leaves pack with a lot of nutritional value and have seven times more Vitamin C then blueberries, eight times more folic acid than bean sprouts, and four times more Vitamin A than tomatoes. Pea leaves taste not only delicious but also a great way to add more dark leafy greens to our diet.

What do snow pea leaves taste like?

Snow pea leafy parts are soft and tender and the texture is similar to baby spinach. The stem parts are hollow in the middle and are crisp in texture. Snow pea leaves taste best when they are quickly sauteed with garlic.

So my friends, I highly recommend that you give Chinese snow pea leaves a try. They are nutritious, very easy to make, and taste wonderful. Print the picture card that I create for you in this post as a reference to help you shop in Chinese grocery stores. And when you are there, you might discover some familiar vegetables like Shanghainese baby Bok Choy, Chinese broccoli Gai Lan, and dry goji berries, shiitake, and dates from my pantry guide. How fun!

If you want to learn more about Asian leafy greens and want to incorporate them into your meals, please leave a comment below so I know you are interested to learn more. Thanks in advance. I appreciate it :))

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Snow Pea Leaves Stir-Fry (Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Vegan)

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 4 mins Total Time: 14 mins Servings: 2 people Author: ChihYu 2-ingredient Chinese Snow Pea Leaves Stir-Fry in a light garlic sauce. It takes mere minutes to cook and is a great way to add dark leafy greens into your meals! Pin Recipe

  • 1 lb. snow pea leaves
  • 0.6 oz. garlic cloves, , finely chopped about 3-4 large cloves
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Rinse/wash the snow pea leaves under room temperature water. Set aside to drain well or use a salad spinner to drain. In the meantime, prepare garlic ready to use.
  • Preheat a large saute skillet or wok over medium-high heat, when hot add avocado oil. Lower the heat to medium, add garlic and season with a pinch of salt. Saute until fragrant, about 5-8 seconds.
  • Add snow pea leaves. Increase the heat to medium-high and gently toss the pea leaves with a tong or chopsticks. Toss often so that the entire batch can cook evenly, about 3-4 minutes total. The leafy parts should turn deeper vibrant green color yet the stem parts are still tender and crisp. Season with salt to taste.
  • Off heat. Transfer the snow peas to a large serving plate. Spoon the garlic over the greens. If there’s juice in the skillet, you may leave it behind if you wish. Serve immediately, in room temperature, or slightly chilled.


In most Chinese markets, snow pea tips are sold in bags with the tougher parts already removed so all you need to do is to wash the vegetables and drain well before sauteing.
The best way to select them is to look for bags that don’t contain too many of the curly tendrils or bubbling flowers as those are tough to chew and it’s an indication that the snow pea tips aren’t harvested while they are the most tender.
If you select them well, the pea shoot stems are just as tender as the leaves so don’t throw away the stems unless the stems feel tough or thick in your hands or look dry and brittle. In that case, nip a small tougher bits away. Break off any flowers or curly tendrils and discard those as well. If the leafy parts look wilted or soiled, discard that, too. If you can’t find snow pea leaves but still would like to try this recipe, use a whole bunch of spinach that contains leafy and stem parts. There’s no perfect substitution for snow pea leaves but the texture of spinach is probably the closest one. Serving: 1serving | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 159.1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.1mg Course: Side Dish Cuisine: Asian, Chinese Keyword: Snow Pea Leaves, Snow Pea Leaves Stir-Fry, Snow Pea Shoots, Snow Pea Tips DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @iheartumami.ny on Instagram and hashtag it #iheartumami.

What to pair with snow pea leaves stir-fry? Check out my Mongolian Beef, Paleo Beef Broccoli, Sesame Chicken, Thai basil beef, and sweet and sour chicken.

Shoot system

  • Growth regions of a tree

    (A) Longitudinal section of a young tree showing how the annual growth rings are produced in successive conical layers. (B) Shoot apex, the extreme tip of which is the apical meristem, or primary meristem, a region of new cell division that contributes to primary growth, or increase in length, and which is the ultimate source of all the cells in the aboveground parts of the tree. (C) Segment of a tree trunk showing the location of the cambium layer, a secondary meristem that contributes to secondary growth, or increase in thickness. (D) Root tip, the apex of which is also an apical meristem and the ultimate source of all the cells of the root system.

    From (A) W.W. Robbins and T.E. Weier, Botany, an Introduction to Plant Science,; © 1950 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (B,D) Biological Science, an Inquiry into Life,; 2nd ed. (1968); Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc., New York; by permission of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study; (C) E.W. Sinnott, Botany: Principles and Problems, 4th ed., copyright 1946; used with permission of McGraw-Hill Book Co.

  • Apical meristems

    (Left) The shoot apical meristem of Hypericum uralum appears at the topmost aspect of the stem. Immediately behind the apical meristem are three regions of primary meristematic tissues. (Right) The root apical meristem appears immediately behind the protective root cap. Three primary meristems are clearly visible just behind the apical meristem.

    Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

  • Figure 1: A typical dicotyledonous plant.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

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