Garlicky Yu Choy Stir-Fry

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on August 19, 2019

Two types of heat turn up the volume in these stir-fried greens: dried chao tian jiao (facing heaven) chiles and Sichuan peppercorns.

You cai is the Mandarin name for a leafy, lightly bitter mustard green more widely known by its Cantonese name: yu choy. Stir-fry it quickly in a smoking-hot wok so it retains some of its crunch. The purple variety is pictured here, but green you cai is easier to come by in U.S. markets. Choose thinner-stemmed greens, and peel any thick stems before cooking.



  • 8 oz. yu choy (you cai), trimmed and rinsed (6 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6–8 dried chao tian jiao (facing heaven) chiles, or substitute Thai or arbol, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (2 Tbsp.)
  • 5 whole red Sichuan peppercorns
  • 12 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed


Step 1

Separate the yu choy leaves and florets from the stems. Using a vegetable peeler, peel any thicker stems. Cut all the stems into 3-inch-long pieces.

Step 2

In a wok over very high heat, add the oil and swirl the pan to coat its surface. When the oil is smoking, add the chiles and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and darkened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and peppercorns, and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Add the yu choy stems, leaves, and florets and ½ teaspoon salt, and continue stirring until combined, about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons cold water, and continue stir-frying until the greens are just wilted and bright green, and the stems have tenderized slightly, 2–3 minutes more.

Step 3

Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer to a large plate and serve immediately.

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