Friday, August 15, 2014

Yuchoy with Katta Sambol

  A while back I was working in a kitchen in Shady Grove, MD and, every day on my commute, I would pass a little strip mall in Redlands. One day I stopped in to go to the post office there and came across the Spice Lanka grocery store. Always on the lookout for spicy condiments, one of the things the very friendly owner urged me to try Katta Sambol because it is very popular in Sri Lankan cooking. While it's not much spicier than, say, Hungarian paprika, it has a nice citrus tang and has a little chewiness because, according to the label, it's made with "red onions, Maldive fish, chili pieces, salt, lime juice & permitted preservatives (E211 & E224)". Outside of this recipe I like katta with any buttered starch, especially rice or baked potatoes.

What you'll need:
about a lb of yuchoy, washed well (it can be sandy) and chopped
Mmmm! I love YuChoy!
a medium-sized onion sliced
1 or 2 tbls minced garlic
1 to 2tbls. katta sambol*
sliced chili peppers to taste (optional)
1 tsp nam pla (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste (I keep a peppermill filled with 60/40 mix of black and Sichuan red peppercorns)
sesame oil

Heat a pan (I use my trusty 10-inch cast iron skillet) with about 2tbls vegetable oil until very hot. Add the katta and garlic, stirring just long to break up the clumps without browning the garlic. Add the onion, chilies, nam pla, and yuchoy and stir fry until the greens just start to wilt. Remove from heat and add a splash of sesame oil.
Serve with hot rice or just eat it out of the pan like I do.
Hey! I live alone. I can do that...

*If you can't find a store that stocks katta sambol, you can try making your own from this recipe.

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