This is the treatment for asparagus once it’s as cheap as chips – mid to late season.
2 bunches of asparagus about 500g (about 1 lb) 1½ Tbsp olive or peanut oil ¼ cup water 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced 1 hot green chilli, thinly sliced (cut chilli in half lengthwise and remove seeds if you don’t want it so hot) 1 tsp peeled finely grated ginger 1 Tbsp kecap manis (sweet salty soy sauce) 2 Tbsp crispy shallots
1 Trim asparagus and cut into short lengths. Heat a wok (or a heavy-based frying pan/skillet) over a medium-high heat, and add the oil. Get the oil nice and hot, then add the asparagus. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned and starting to soften a little.
2 Add the water – be prepared for it to steam up – and cook asparagus until the water evaporates. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often, then add the chilli and ginger and cook through briefly. Stir in kecap manis and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crispy shallots and serve.
Kecap manis (also known as ketjap manis) is an Indonesian thick and sweet soy sauce, made from soya beans, palm sugar and spices, including star anise. Available from Asian food stores. Refrigerate after opening.