In celebration of New Year’s, tomorrow’s Wok Wednesdays stir-fry is Julie Tay’s Singapore-Style Duck with Chinese Celery (page 131 from Sky). While you can certainly use regular “Western” celery, Chinese celery is worth taking the time to find. The flavor is much more intense and aromatic. Unlike Western celery it is never eaten raw because it’s not as tender. The Chinese like adding it to soups, stews and stir-fries. Celery is popular to eat for the lunar new year. The belief is that eating celery has positive meaning because the word for celery in Cantonese kun choi is a homonym for diligence.
When selecting Chinese celery you’ll notice that the stalks are much thinner than Western celery. You want to choose the fattest and whitest stalks because they’re the most tender. Avoid stalks which are limp with yellow leaves, a sign it’s past its prime. According to Martha Dahlen in her wonderful book “A Cook’s Guide to Chinese Vegetables,” Chinese celery has more vitamins and minerals than the Western variety.
Here’s the photo I took of Julie after she had taught me how to make her wonderful dish. Wishing good fortune, good health and diligence in 2016!