Choy Sum & Mushrooms

We rarely have choy sum over here. I have no explanation except that maybe I don’t know how else to have choy sum other than in noodle soups. I’ve never quite had them stirfried and so never think of them as stirfry veggies. Up until I tried it myself and discovered that a good sauce over it can change this slightly astringent veggie into something wonderful!

(I just did a Google search and discovered that so many people mix up choy sum with bok choy and kai lan. Sigh….)

I make my sauces from very simple basic everyday ingredients. I think the main flavour base comes from the mushroom soaking water. I rarely throw that away because mushrooms contain loads of woody flavour that adds depth to any dish.

For this simple stirfry, I used:

Choy Sum, Garlic, Dried Maitake Mushrooms (aka Hen of the Woods), Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Water, Corn Starch & Vegetable Oil
Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 1

I usually cut the vegetable stems a little shorter and the leaves in larger pieces because the stems take a little longer to cook compared to the leaves.Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 2

As with all stirfries, it begins with some sautéed garlic.Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 3

I gave my reconstituted mushrooms a little snip as they were rather large pieces. I love trying out new types of mushrooms and I’m glad I tried this one. Maitake is not a very common one and is definitely slightly pricier but the crunchy texture and musky flavour is unbeatable.
Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 4

Stems are added in first so they get a little headstart in the cooking process. Choy sum stems are a little tough so they need some cooking to get tender and juicy.
Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 5

Oyster sauce and fish sauce is added in now.
Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 6

I reserved the mushroom soaking liquid and poured it in to make some sauce. There are sendiments at the bottom of the bowl so be careful when pouring. Grit does not a good ingredient make.Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 7

Once everything is nice and bubbly, the leaves can go in.Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 8

After some time steaming under the cover, the dish is almost ready. I removed the veggies first to prevent over-cooking. Choy sum gets stringy when overcooked. Then, some cornstarch and water is mixed up to create a slurry for sauce thickening. The veggies do release moisture. Didn’t want swimming veggies.Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 9

When the sauce is all nice and shiny, I poured it over the veggies. It made a really really tasty sauce.
Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 10

I’d never been so happy to eat choy sum. Perfect over rice too. 
Choy Sum & Mushroom Sauce 11

I guess it’s usually how we prepare our veggies in order to make them more appetising. I’l never look at choy sum the same way again.

xoxoxo, Jayne

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. ” (1 Samuel 16:7)

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Choy Sum & Mushrooms
serves 4


1 bunch Choy Sum (mine was about 300 gms), ends trimmed
2 cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
1 cup dried Maitake Mushrooms (use whatever you like, fresh or dry), reconstituted & soaking water reserved
1/4 cups reserved mushroom soaking liquid (or broth if you prefer)
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 tbsp Fish Sauce, to taste
1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Water

  1. Cut the stem off the choy sum into about 2 inch sticks. Keep the leaves whole. 
  2. In a warm pan with 2 tbsp vegetable oil, sauté the minced garlic for about 1 min.
  3. Add drained mushrooms and give that a stir.
  4. Scatter in the choy sum stems first.
  5. Pour in oyster sauce & fish sauce with mushroom soaking liquid. Mix everything well and let it come to a boil and leave to simmer for about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Finally, add in choy sum leaves and toss until leaves have wilted, about 1 minute.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water to form a slurry.
  8. Remove cooked choy sum onto serving platter.
  9. In the remaining sauce, stir in the slurry. Make sure the pan is on HIGH heat. it will take about 20-30 secs to thicken and get glossy.
  10. Pour sauce over vegetables and serve with rice!


  1. This looks so good. I always disliked mushrooms growing up, but the older I get, the more intrigued I get, and I have actually tried some different kinds in the past few years (after my husband nagged me forever!) and I like them!

    • I’m so glad you developed taste for mushrooms. As you might have notice, I’m kinda obsessed with mushrooms. I’d try all kinds of fresh & dried ones. Mushrooms are so interesting!


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