A brief fling in the wok is the perfect technique for cooking delicate pea shoots (sometimes called pea vines). Available at farmers markets and Asian markets (under the name dou miao at the latter), pea shoots should include a top pair of small leaves at the tip, delicate tendrils attached to the young stem, and a few larger leaves or blossoms. Select bright green, undamaged shoots. Pea shoots are often confused with pea sprouts, the whole baby pea plant. However, shoots and sprouts can be used interchangeably. Serve with a meat dish and freshly steamed rice.–Patricia Tanumihardja

LC Greens Galore Note

Author Pat Tanumihardja notes in her book that “this cooking method can be used for many vegetables, from bok choy to tatsoi to Chinese flowering cabbage (choy sum). For vegetables with thicker stems or ribs, separate the leaves and stems and add the stems first as they require a longer cooking time.” Okay, then. Sautéed greens all year round it is!

A brown bowl filled with stir-fried pea shoots.

Wok-Fried Pea Shoots

5 / 2 votes
Wok-fried pea shoots show us how a brief fling in the wok with a little garlic and sesame oil is all that’s needed to coax delicate pea shoots to tender, aromatic perfection.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories31 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 1 pound pea shoots, rinsed and drained well
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade, or water
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or fish sauce
  • Sesame oil, for drizzling (optional)


  • Trim the ends of the pea shoots as well as any tough stems.
  • Heat a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Swirl in the oil and heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high, throw in the pea shoots, and toss to coat evenly with the oil and garlic and keep tossing until the leaves are just barely wilted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Add the stock and soy sauce and toss until the liquid has reduced to a few tablespoons and the shoots are tender and bright green, another 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve immediately.

Adapted From

The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 31 kcalCarbohydrates: 2 gProtein: 4 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 1 mgSodium: 212 mgPotassium: 31 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 462 IUVitamin C: 79 mgCalcium: 5 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Patricia Tanumihardja. Photo © 2009 Lara Ferroni. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Select a Tester

This fried pea shoots recipe was simple and very tasty; an excellent side dish for any Asian meal.

I picked up some pea tendrils at my local farmers market and was debating what to do with them. Then I stumbled upon this easy recipe and knew I had to make it. It was tasty and a cinch to make. Coincidentally, a friend had long ago loaned me this very cookbook, which has been collecting dust on my bookshelf, and I’m now looking forward to sitting down and going through it.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Green Bean Salad with Mint

This easy, make-ahead summer salad is proof that tomatoes and green beans are a match made in heaven.

1 hr 30 mins

Carrot Fries with Chipotle Sauce

Need to get your fry fix without breaking your diet? These carrot fries are easy to make, healthy-ish, and come with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

50 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Maybe I’m just antsy for spring, but when I saw pea shoots at an upscale Italian market this afternoon (nope! neither a farmers nor an Asian market!), my heart sang! Feels like springtime in January! Pro tip: I’m serving to non-chicken and non-fish eaters so it’s water and soy sauce for us, though I might sub out the water for a vegetable stock. Though it’s suggested to serve with a meat dish and steamed rice, I think the bright cheerful green of the shoots would be excellent with the Glazed Tofu and steamed rice.

    1. Marvelous, Elsa! And you never know where you’ll happen upon shoots. (And I suspect I know which upscale Italian market you found these in.) Glad you snatched them up!