Ever since I got my guys hooked on Brussels sprouts with the Waldorf Brussels Sprout Salad, I’ve been plotting other ways to work this delicious vegetable into our weekly menus. This recipe for stir-fried Brussels sprouts, which I adapted from the new cookbook Pok Pok, was an instant hit with my guys.
I have never been to Pok Pok, a local chain of authentic Thai restaurants based in Portland, OR with more in NYC, but if the food is as good as their cookbook, they will definitely get on my must-go list. This book is very detailed and thorough about ingredients and technique, and if you are truly a fan of Thai cooking, you may find yourself with a whole new grocery list after reading through it. That being said, we made these sprouts at the spur of the moment on a cold Saturday when I really did not want to battle the road construction traffic and the crowds at the nearest international grocery store—which though only six miles away would have meant a two hour round trip—so I used whatever I had on hand in the pantry and refrigerator. Consider this my liberal adaptation of one of the easiest recipes in the book.
But my guys loved it, there weren’t any sprouts left over, and two of my boys asked if we could make them again the next day. That’s a winner at our house.
And speaking of my guys loving it, this is a great recipe for the kids to help with. Younger children can help clean and peel outer leaves off the sprouts, and older children with more knife experience can halve the sprouts and measure ingredients. Just make sure an adult is present, especially to supervise the steaming and the hot wok.
I steamed the sprouts before adding to the wok because that’s my usual technique for stir-frying hearty vegetables like broccoli and sprouts, though the book says to boil in water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Because we did not have any fresh Thai chilies, I used Thai chili sauce. I also opted to use Thai palm sugar, aka jaggery, rather than granulated sugar, and I dissolved it in the water. The sauce is delicious, but the key to making the recipe work is the precise cooking times. Follow those to the letter, and you will get crisp tender sprouts without a hint of sulfur smell or taste, which can happen if they are cooked too long.
- 10 ounces (284 g) Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, outer leaves removed, halved lengthwise (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons Thai oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon Thai thin soy sauce
- Small pinch ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Thai chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 11 grams peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise and lightly crushed into small pieces in a mortar (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar
- Add 1 inch of water to the pot and put in the steamer basket. Bring to a boil and steam the sprouts just until they start to shine and the color turns bright, about 1 minute.
- While waiting for the water to boil, stir together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, and white pepper in the small bowl. Dissolve the palm sugar in the water.
- Heat the sunflower oil in the hot wok and swirl it up around the sides. When it starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and add the garlic. Let it sizzle, stirring, for about 15 seconds.
- Return the wok to the heat and add the Brussels sprouts. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir-fry until the sprouts are crunchy tender, about 45 seconds.
- Stir in the palm sugar and water, and continue stir-frying the sprouts until the sauce has slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Transfer all to a plate and serve immediately.
large pot with lid
metal steamer basket
Follow the cooking times precisely for best flavor and texture.