Sautéed Asparagus with Fish Sauce (鱼露芦笋)
December 23, 2019
I love asparagus. Not only it’s a superfood, but it’s also easy to prepare. Asparagus is known to have many great benefits. It is full of fibers, high in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, folate, and has minerals like zinc, manganese, and selenium. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which is great news for the immune system. The only downside of eating asparagus is your urine can become a bit pungent. That’s because our bodies convert asparagusic acid into sulfur-containing molecules, which carry a strong stinky scent. But apparently only less than half the population have the genes to detect this unpleasant smell with their noses. So you might be spared from this ordeal if you can’t smell it.
This sautéed asparagus dish is probably the easiest asparagus dish one could possible imagine. It takes total about 15 minutes from start to finish. The only other major ingredient is fish sauce1, which complements asparagus nicely with its strong flavor. Sautéing gets rid of asparagus’s raw and slightly bitter taste, leaving the resulting dish a crisp, savory delight and preserving asparagus’ natural distinctive fresh flavor.
Asparagus is done when it reaches the desired level of softness. Typically for whole asparagus, this takes 8-10 minutes grilling, 5-7 minutes steaming, and 8-10 minutes pan roasting, all depending on the thickness of the spears. The asparagus in this sautéed recipe is cut first into 2 inch pieces, and should be done in 3-5 minutes in total.
Preparation Time: 10 min
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 15 min
- 1 bunch of asparagus (3/4 lb to 1 lb)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- Rinse the asparagus spears under cold water. Pat them dry with paper towel.
- Discard the hard white end of the asparagus spears. Then cut the green spears into 2 inch diagonal pieces.
- Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large sautépan or skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is relatively hot, add all the asparagus pieces and immediately start tossing and stirring.There should be a loud sizzling sound which is totally normal when you first add the asparagus pieces into the pan.
- After all the pieces start turning from light green to a deeper green, which only takes about 1 to 2 minutes of stirring, pour in the fish sauce and continue stirring.
- Continue tossing and stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until all the fish sauce has been mixed well and the skins of asparagus pieces have turned to a more saturated green. Turn off the heat and give a last toss before transferring to a plate. DO NOT OVERCOOK otherwise you lose the crunchiness of the fresh asparagus.
- Fish sauce is a sauce made with small fish and salt; fermented for up to two years. It is a staple seasoning in Asian cuisine, especially in Southeast Asia. Fish sauce is quite salty and has a strong fish flavor. So if it is not your cup of tea, substitute it with equal amount of light soy sauce. Here I used the brand Red Boat fish sauce that I got from Trader Joe’s.