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Oriental Salad

November 8, 2012

pak choi, oriental spinach, shiitake mushrooms, frugal, frugality, thrifty

You’ll all agree that supermarkets tend to be fairly generic, drab spaces that people frequent only out of necessity. As food bloggers we soon grow weary of these commercial husks for being entirely unenticing and lacking in variety. However, it seems that UK based supermarket chain Morrisons, known for being the smallest and least corporate of the large supermarkets, is bucking the trend with surprising effect. For instance, the Aberystwyth ‘branch’ has recently undergone what I can only describe as a major upgrade and now offers a reasonably comprehensive variety of fresh fruit and veg. Any supermarket that offers five types of chard and four types of kale has succeeded in securing a tentative thumbs-up from this quarter – though I would, of course, rather support local business.

Of course, this development meant that I simply had to indulge in a little culinary experimentation. As you can see, oriental spinach is one ingredient that really caught my eye. As a result of its large, dark-green leaves it has a far more appealing appearance than normal spinach. Oriental spinach also has a darker and more interesting flavour than its more commonly used counterpart, making it perfect for simple dishes like this. For those of you that have green fingers, oriental spinach is ideally suited to mild climates as a result of its hardy nature and can be grown well into autumn. However, it should be noted that common spinach would make a more than acceptable replacement. In terms of mushrooms, I chose shiitake for their buttery, luxurious quality, but if you haven’t access to them any mushroom would suffice.

frugality, frugal, thrifty

Now, for a little FrugalFeeding update! A notorious Australian recently made known her desire that I should create a recipe index. Presumably, this is because it is immoral to make it more difficult than it should be for everyone to access my incredible recipes (or something like that). However, little did my crow eating friend know (apparently ‘Croweater’ is a term used to describe the resident of Victoria) I already have one in production. So, keep your eyes fixed on my Facebook and Twitter feeds in the coming days for news of what will surely be an indispensable addition.

Oriental Salad

Serves 2-4


• 1 large bunch of oriental spinach, roughly torn

• 5-6 shitake mushrooms, sliced

• 1 baby pak choi, whole leaves

• 2 spring onions, finely sliced

• 1 clove of garlic, mashed

• 25g salted butter


1. Melt the butter in a large pan, throw in the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 2 minutes on a high heat.

frugality, frugal, thrifty

2. Add the spinach and pak choi to the pan and toss just to coat the leaves in butter and warm them through – this should take no more than about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately, scattering the spring onions over each portion.

frugal, frugality, thifty, oriental spinach, pak choi, shiitake mushrooms

Cost: Shiitake mushrooms aren’t the cheapest around, but when used conservatively they won’t set you back an awful lot (60p in this case) and can really serve transform a dish. Happily, oriental spinach isn’t really any more expensive than common spinach so that didn’t pose any problem at all. Consequently, this salad will set you back a rather frugal £2.40!


96 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2012 5:04 pm

    Love the look of that baby bok choy. That had to be juicy and scrumptious!

  2. Emilse P. Beck permalink
    November 8, 2012 5:05 pm

    Great pictures!! It looks very tasty too! congrats!

  3. Sean Breslin permalink
    November 8, 2012 5:08 pm

    Looks really good!

  4. November 8, 2012 5:20 pm

    Looks very refreshing and delicious!

  5. November 8, 2012 5:21 pm

    Some lovely photos Nick and a good looking dish!

  6. November 8, 2012 5:22 pm

    Looks yummy. I love pak choi. Good for ‘Morrisons’. We can’t even buy one type of kale in supermarkets in New Zealand! Just as well it’s so easy to grow.

  7. November 8, 2012 5:23 pm


    • Jayne permalink
      November 9, 2012 1:57 am

      Hey there, it’s the same thing. Pak choy is the Cantonese way of saying it whereas bok choy is probably the westernised way of saying it. It’s the same 🙂

    • November 10, 2012 11:50 pm


  8. November 8, 2012 5:30 pm

    I find at the Japanese market that I shop at Shitake mushrooms are less expensive than a regular grocery store. Actually, all of the mushrooms are. This recipe looks and sounds delicious.

  9. November 8, 2012 6:10 pm

    I agree I love Morrisons! I always go there when I need things like fresh herbs, golden beetroot, heirloom tomatoes etc because I just know they’ll have it and it will be fresh x

    • November 10, 2012 11:49 pm

      It’s really great! I saw the golden beets, but I don’t live where that one is any more :(.

  10. November 8, 2012 6:14 pm

    I used to feel the same way about UK supermarkets – but now that I live in Mexico, I think it was only becuase I was so spoilt for choice! What I would give to have UK qualitiy supermarket produce here….however on the flip side, we do have fantastic markets which does make up for it! 🙂 still loving your blog! X

    • November 10, 2012 11:49 pm

      Haha – yes foreign markets tend to be really great – though you do get some cracking ones in Britain too. Thanks!

  11. November 8, 2012 7:08 pm

    Simple, elegant and very interesting…I am going to have to look up the botanical name for Asian spinach! It would seem that your blog is attracting Aussies like blowflies to a bbq! As you have noted, they are amazing for pointing out the obvious and as a Tasmania, aka little Victorian I totally agree with Clever Muffin about the recipe index. It would be a sin not to allow us to pinch ALL of your recipes in one fell swoop ;). Cheers for the heads up on Clever Muffin by the way! It’s always great to find space for one more scrumptious recipe blog in your overstuffed rss feed reader 🙂

    • November 10, 2012 11:45 pm

      I’m so glad you think so! That’s the problem with Aussies :D, they cluster. I shall have one up and running within the week. She has a great blog 🙂

      • November 11, 2012 3:07 am

        There is strength in numbers! We certainly learned that early…its because we are spread so far apart we realise the benefit of community :). She does indeed! And a most delicious one at that 🙂

  12. November 8, 2012 7:23 pm

    Hmmm, a recipe index would be nice. I’ve got a page and a sidebar for my recipes, but I’m nearly a month behind in updating them and want to fix the format somehow. This looks more like a lovely stir fry than a salad, but who am I to argue (wilted salad perhaps)? At any rate, I know it’s delicious 🙂

    • November 10, 2012 11:44 pm

      tut tut, get on it, Somer! 😀 – I’d call it a warm salad. It was yummy 🙂

  13. November 8, 2012 9:08 pm

    I am notorious! I’ve always wanted to be notorious, another thing I can safely tick off the old bucket list. What can I say? Great minds think alike, I think you need a recipe index (for selfish reasons, but whateve) and you’re creating one already! But, Mr Frugal, I am no Crow eater, that’s for South Australians. And when you and Katherine do your massive round-Australia trip (as is mandatory for all English to do at some point) you’ll see they’re very different places. But I’ll take it coz I’m just chuffed for the shout out 🙂 And as always, oriental salad looks delish.

    • November 10, 2012 11:43 pm

      Haha – you very much are! Is that not where Victoria is? My cousin lives in Australia, so I’ll probably go out at some point! I’ll have to pop over 😀

  14. November 8, 2012 9:52 pm

    Lovely looking salad Frugal. I had bok choi last weekend. we had it as a side, steamed for 4 minutes. Very tasty.

    • November 10, 2012 11:42 pm

      Thanks, Conor! That sounds lovely 🙂 This cooked for less than a minute and had a great crunch about it.

  15. November 8, 2012 10:33 pm

    This is a more refined version of what I made yesterday– nice!

  16. November 9, 2012 12:10 am

    Mmm sounds really delicious! Warm salad is just what I need now, now that the weather has turned a little chilly. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  17. November 9, 2012 12:48 am

    Very Nice! I have to say,though, that even though I (feel I am ) in exile in a rural community, the supermarkets have made incredible strides in the different fresh vegetables they carry,(plus Asian/European foods).I guess the Food channels/networks/shows have had a major influence…thank God! When I moved here 18 years ago,I had to go to the nearest decent-sized city just for what I consider ‘the basics’.I still make the trek to go to my favorite Italian and Indian markets a couple of times a year.

    • November 10, 2012 11:42 pm

      That’s really great! It would be such a pain otherwise! I guess that’s one benefit of so many television chefs – though I dislike most of them…

  18. petit4chocolatier permalink
    November 9, 2012 1:37 am

    This is incredibly fresh and crisp! Love the mixture; especially baby pak choi!
    Your photos are excellent!

  19. Jayne permalink
    November 9, 2012 1:55 am

    This is gorgeous! I love to make simple stirfries with fresh crisp veges too. I practically do stirfries like this every single night for dinner. I just can’t get enough of the fresh taste and also the nutrition is good plus. 🙂

  20. November 9, 2012 3:52 am

    Great food styling. The photo looks good enough to eat vicariously. The real thing, is I imagine, delicious. I love all vege things but especially spinach & mushrooms, and this salad combo is wonderful 🙂

  21. November 9, 2012 11:41 am

    Our Morrisons had a revamp, I was a little disappointed to discover that after only a month or so, the first refrigerated ‘ice steam’ cabinet thingy near the entrance had been turned over to net bags of lemons and oranges for a quid, which didn’t look very exotic to me, I have a horrible feeling that perhaps the people who frequent our Morrisons aren’t ready for wonderful and exotic vegetables and the various mushrooms, tomatoes and what have you will just become bog standard stuff.
    I maybe wrong, but when I went looking for squashes they had a butternut squash and that was all..

  22. November 9, 2012 1:53 pm

    This sounds like a terrific salad for the fall season.

  23. November 9, 2012 2:42 pm

    This looks like a lovely dish. As for the recipe index, good call. I’m so pleased I put one on my blog – so many readers had asked for it but I put it off for ages because they’re such a pain to do.

  24. November 9, 2012 3:56 pm

    From reading about your supermarkets, I know you would live shopping in most US groceries. Led by Whole Foods, many have greatly improved fresh organic selections. Now if we could just get more people eating healthy. Jamie Oliver is trying!

    • November 11, 2012 12:38 pm

      Hmm, I’m not sure – I’m not a big fan of the US meat industry, I get the impression things are hard to regulate over there. Jamie Olive is doing a great job, though I dislike his most recent recipe books.

  25. November 9, 2012 4:21 pm

    Sounds mouth-watering. Maybe it’s what I could make for tea tonight if I get out into the garden to pick the vegetables before it gets too dark!

  26. November 9, 2012 6:17 pm

    That looks a lovely salad. I think i’ll have a go at that

  27. November 9, 2012 8:11 pm

    Looks delicious and vibrant! I’m loving all the beautiful colors. Makes it more enjoyable to eat!

  28. November 10, 2012 12:03 am


  29. November 10, 2012 4:01 am

    Looks so fresh and wonderful! I love new takes on salads and this is that and more! Looking forward to the index Nick!

  30. November 10, 2012 12:46 pm

    I can’t wait to try cooking this myself! Great pictures by the way. Makes me hungry just by looking at them! Thanks!

  31. November 10, 2012 1:51 pm

    Very nice!

  32. November 10, 2012 6:20 pm

    Simple but yet so effective, the best dishes often are. I love a warm salad and garlic and mushrooms were made for each other – glad to see you’re a friend of Jo Blogs and what a fab blog you have too! My site is fast becoming a frugal one out of necessity and I think it’s what everyone wants right now judging by the stats!

    • November 11, 2012 12:34 pm

      Indeed! I’m in complete and utter agreement! Yes, where is Jo, she’s not blogged for AGES! Thanks so much – yes, my stats are doing fairly well!

  33. My French Heaven permalink
    November 10, 2012 7:10 pm

    Do you take the pictures yourself? These shots are just amazing! Thanks again for sharing…

  34. November 10, 2012 9:52 pm

    Yikes, I need to do the same thing and am dragging my feet. Will be glad to see yours go up. The salad looks great.

  35. jessicaozmentphoto permalink
    November 11, 2012 12:15 am

    Beautiful, healthy looking recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  36. November 11, 2012 12:44 am

    I’ve never heard of oriental spinach, but I love baby bak choi and shiitake mushrooms and this is a great way to prepare them. Good luck with your recipe index! Mine is a pain in the a$$ to keep updated, so if you have an easy solution I’m all ears 🙂

    • November 11, 2012 12:30 pm

      I’d never heard of it either, Korena! It’s yum. Haha – thanks! I’ll get back to you 🙂

  37. November 11, 2012 5:46 am

    Hi there! Lovely greens.. I wish we had that sort of selection! Good luck with your sorting.. and thanks for the follow on facebook.. I tried to follow, add you as a friend or “like” but couldn’t figure out how to do so on your page??

    • November 11, 2012 12:28 pm

      Thanks, Barb’! That’s very strange… You can do it via FrugalFeeding front page, it’s on the right!

  38. November 11, 2012 1:33 pm

    This does not look frugal. Are you sure you did your sums correctly? It looks very posh indeed. 🙂

  39. My French Heaven permalink
    November 11, 2012 10:07 pm

    Oh the colors on this!

  40. mjskit permalink
    November 12, 2012 3:10 pm

    What a beautiful salad! Very colorful and very healthy!

  41. November 14, 2012 4:02 pm

    I too was astonished to find a veritable cornucopia of fresh produce in my local Morrisons (near Leeds) earlier this year: samphire, truffles, galangal, all manner of exotic delights. I ended up completely torn between excitement at the variety on offer, and dismay at the environmental impact.
    Now I’m in Belgium, we shop at the local market so I have slightly fewer moral dilemmas.

    • November 14, 2012 6:40 pm

      I can’t wait to use the samphire! Most of the stuff is sourced in Britain actually, which is great!

  42. the67percent permalink
    November 16, 2012 9:29 am

    Nice to see the lesser known shitake taking centre stage here! have you tried slowly frying them in oyster sauce and caster sugar to add some sweetness to the salad? Cantonese style 🙂

  43. November 19, 2012 5:54 pm

    I actually love my grocery store (Wegmans). It started out as a local (to western New York) store, but now they have stores all over the midwest & east coast. They partner with local farms to showcase locally grown food & they treat their employees really well (they usually make the Forbes list of best companies to work for). They have an excellent organic meat section and lots of ethnic/foreign ingredients. I guess we’re spoiled in Rochester, NY!

  44. November 21, 2012 5:39 am

    This looks fantastic! I’m not vegetarian, but do eat a diet high in veggies and low in meats. I make something similar to this with mushrooms, onion, garlic, celery, red pepper and zucchini. I had it for breakfast this morning, with two beaten eggs over it all to make a frittata. I will have to try adding some of the leafy vegs to my mix, too, as well as trying your dish on its own. Always good to find a new way to eat my veggies! Thanks a lot.

  45. November 21, 2012 9:12 pm

    Beautiful food photography 🙂

  46. November 25, 2012 6:04 am

    This salad looks so clean (not a lot of gloppy dressing) and refreshing. Also, your photos are great throughout your blog!

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