Oriental Salad

pak choi, oriental spinach, shiitake mushrooms, frugal, frugality, thrifty

You’ll all agree that supermarkets tend to be fairly generic, drab spaces that people frequent only out of necessity. As food bloggers we soon grow weary of these commercial husks for being entirely unenticing and lacking in variety. However, it seems that UK based supermarket chain Morrisons, known for being the smallest and least corporate of the large supermarkets, is bucking the trend with surprising effect. For instance, the Aberystwyth ‘branch’ has recently undergone what I can only describe as a major upgrade and now offers a reasonably comprehensive variety of fresh fruit and veg. Any supermarket that offers five types of chard and four types of kale has succeeded in securing a tentative thumbs-up from this quarter – though I would, of course, rather support local business.

Of course, this development meant that I simply had to indulge in a little culinary experimentation. As you can see, oriental spinach is one ingredient that really caught my eye. As a result of its large, dark-green leaves it has a far more appealing appearance than normal spinach. Oriental spinach also has a darker and more interesting flavour than its more commonly used counterpart, making it perfect for simple dishes like this. For those of you that have green fingers, oriental spinach is ideally suited to mild climates as a result of its hardy nature and can be grown well into autumn. However, it should be noted that common spinach would make a more than acceptable replacement. In terms of mushrooms, I chose shiitake for their buttery, luxurious quality, but if you haven’t access to them any mushroom would suffice.

frugality, frugal, thrifty

Now, for a little FrugalFeeding update! A notorious Australian recently made known her desire that I should create a recipe index. Presumably, this is because it is immoral to make it more difficult than it should be for everyone to access my incredible recipes (or something like that). However, little did my crow eating friend know (apparently ‘Croweater’ is a term used to describe the resident of Victoria) I already have one in production. So, keep your eyes fixed on my Facebook and Twitter feeds in the coming days for news of what will surely be an indispensable addition.

Oriental Salad

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

• 1 large bunch of oriental spinach, roughly torn

• 5-6 shitake mushrooms, sliced

• 1 baby pak choi, whole leaves

• 2 spring onions, finely sliced

• 1 clove of garlic, mashed

• 25g salted butter

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a large pan, throw in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 2 minutes on a high heat.

frugality, frugal, thrifty

2. Add the spinach and pak choi to the pan and toss just to coat the leaves in butter and warm them through – this should take no more than about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately, scattering the spring onions over each portion.

frugal, frugality, thifty, oriental spinach, pak choi, shiitake mushrooms

Cost: Shiitake mushrooms aren’t the cheapest around, but when used conservatively they won’t set you back an awful lot (60p in this case) and can really serve transform a dish. Happily, oriental spinach isn’t really any more expensive than common spinach so that didn’t pose any problem at all. Consequently, this salad will set you back a rather frugal £2.40!

 

96 thoughts on “Oriental Salad

  1. rayandskye

    I find at the Japanese market that I shop at Shitake mushrooms are less expensive than a regular grocery store. Actually, all of the mushrooms are. This recipe looks and sounds delicious.

  2. veghotpot

    I agree I love Morrisons! I always go there when I need things like fresh herbs, golden beetroot, heirloom tomatoes etc because I just know they’ll have it and it will be fresh x

  3. The Travelling Chopsticks

    I used to feel the same way about UK supermarkets – but now that I live in Mexico, I think it was only becuase I was so spoilt for choice! What I would give to have UK qualitiy supermarket produce here….however on the flip side, we do have fantastic markets which does make up for it! :) still loving your blog! X

  4. narf77

    Simple, elegant and very interesting…I am going to have to look up the botanical name for Asian spinach! It would seem that your blog is attracting Aussies like blowflies to a bbq! As you have noted, they are amazing for pointing out the obvious and as a Tasmania, aka little Victorian I totally agree with Clever Muffin about the recipe index. It would be a sin not to allow us to pinch ALL of your recipes in one fell swoop ;). Cheers for the heads up on Clever Muffin by the way! It’s always great to find space for one more scrumptious recipe blog in your overstuffed rss feed reader :)

      1. narf77

        There is strength in numbers! We certainly learned that early…its because we are spread so far apart we realise the benefit of community :). She does indeed! And a most delicious one at that :)

  5. Somer

    Hmmm, a recipe index would be nice. I’ve got a page and a sidebar for my recipes, but I’m nearly a month behind in updating them and want to fix the format somehow. This looks more like a lovely stir fry than a salad, but who am I to argue (wilted salad perhaps)? At any rate, I know it’s delicious :)

  6. Aimee@clevermuffin

    I am notorious! I’ve always wanted to be notorious, another thing I can safely tick off the old bucket list. What can I say? Great minds think alike, I think you need a recipe index (for selfish reasons, but whateve) and you’re creating one already! But, Mr Frugal, I am no Crow eater, that’s for South Australians. And when you and Katherine do your massive round-Australia trip (as is mandatory for all English to do at some point) you’ll see they’re very different places. But I’ll take it coz I’m just chuffed for the shout out :) And as always, oriental salad looks delish.

  7. tonette joyce

    Very Nice! I have to say,though, that even though I (feel I am ) in exile in a rural community, the supermarkets have made incredible strides in the different fresh vegetables they carry,(plus Asian/European foods).I guess the Food channels/networks/shows have had a major influence…thank God! When I moved here 18 years ago,I had to go to the nearest decent-sized city just for what I consider ‘the basics’.I still make the trek to go to my favorite Italian and Indian markets a couple of times a year.

  8. Jayne

    This is gorgeous! I love to make simple stirfries with fresh crisp veges too. I practically do stirfries like this every single night for dinner. I just can’t get enough of the fresh taste and also the nutrition is good plus. :-)

  9. EllaDee

    Great food styling. The photo looks good enough to eat vicariously. The real thing, is I imagine, delicious. I love all vege things but especially spinach & mushrooms, and this salad combo is wonderful :)

  10. sh0werstorm

    Our Morrisons had a revamp, I was a little disappointed to discover that after only a month or so, the first refrigerated ‘ice steam’ cabinet thingy near the entrance had been turned over to net bags of lemons and oranges for a quid, which didn’t look very exotic to me, I have a horrible feeling that perhaps the people who frequent our Morrisons aren’t ready for wonderful and exotic vegetables and the various mushrooms, tomatoes and what have you will just become bog standard stuff.
    I maybe wrong, but when I went looking for squashes they had a butternut squash and that was all..

  11. thelittleloaf

    This looks like a lovely dish. As for the recipe index, good call. I’m so pleased I put one on my blog – so many readers had asked for it but I put it off for ages because they’re such a pain to do.

  12. lulu

    From reading about your supermarkets, I know you would live shopping in most US groceries. Led by Whole Foods, many have greatly improved fresh organic selections. Now if we could just get more people eating healthy. Jamie Oliver is trying!

    1. frugalfeeding

      Hmm, I’m not sure – I’m not a big fan of the US meat industry, I get the impression things are hard to regulate over there. Jamie Olive is doing a great job, though I dislike his most recent recipe books.

  13. Camilla

    Simple but yet so effective, the best dishes often are. I love a warm salad and garlic and mushrooms were made for each other – glad to see you’re a friend of Jo Blogs and what a fab blog you have too! My site is fast becoming a frugal one out of necessity and I think it’s what everyone wants right now judging by the stats!

  14. Korena in the Kitchen

    I’ve never heard of oriental spinach, but I love baby bak choi and shiitake mushrooms and this is a great way to prepare them. Good luck with your recipe index! Mine is a pain in the a$$ to keep updated, so if you have an easy solution I’m all ears :)

  15. sophiezest

    I too was astonished to find a veritable cornucopia of fresh produce in my local Morrisons (near Leeds) earlier this year: samphire, truffles, galangal, all manner of exotic delights. I ended up completely torn between excitement at the variety on offer, and dismay at the environmental impact.
    Now I’m in Belgium, we shop at the local market so I have slightly fewer moral dilemmas.

  16. the67percent

    Nice to see the lesser known shitake taking centre stage here! have you tried slowly frying them in oyster sauce and caster sugar to add some sweetness to the salad? Cantonese style :)

  17. flowercityfoodie

    I actually love my grocery store (Wegmans). It started out as a local (to western New York) store, but now they have stores all over the midwest & east coast. They partner with local farms to showcase locally grown food & they treat their employees really well (they usually make the Forbes list of best companies to work for). They have an excellent organic meat section and lots of ethnic/foreign ingredients. I guess we’re spoiled in Rochester, NY!

  18. Linne

    This looks fantastic! I’m not vegetarian, but do eat a diet high in veggies and low in meats. I make something similar to this with mushrooms, onion, garlic, celery, red pepper and zucchini. I had it for breakfast this morning, with two beaten eggs over it all to make a frittata. I will have to try adding some of the leafy vegs to my mix, too, as well as trying your dish on its own. Always good to find a new way to eat my veggies! Thanks a lot.

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