janet @ the taste space

Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce

In Mains (Vegetarian) on July 4, 2011 at 6:39 AM

What’s (one of) the worst thing to amalgamate when combining the homes of two people? (Or three, since stuff was also left behind from our landlords…)


While I have upgraded from a condo-sized fridge, the new full-sized fridge seems so full already as it is nearly packed with condiments! Three tahinis… three bottles of toasted sesame oil… three bottles for soy sauce (which I promptly removed from the fridge)… and Rob, alone, had all things tamarind and mango: 2 containers of tamarind concentrate, tamarind chutney, mango ginger chutney, mango chili sauce, pickled mango in oil. I am no saint, either, bringing the isoteric umeboshi plum paste, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and some peach-mango salsa, amongst many, many others! Actually, I love isoteric ingredients… the duplicates bother me. 😛 For some reason the soy sauce bottles are NOT built to add liquid in the other way.

I have wanted to make my own hoisin sauce, ever since Rose posted her recipe and I spotted an even more compelling version in The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East. However, until I finish the bottle in the cupboard, I will be using the jarred variety.

I am a late bloomer for discovering the quick and easy nature of stir fries, where anything goes, but decided to try to use some of the condiments in the fridge in a stir fry. First one: hoisin sauce, the salty-sweet Chinese barbecue sauce.

Adapted from 101cookbooks, this is a quick stir fry filled with spring vegetables including asparagus, spinach and green onions. The hoisin flavour is augmented by garlic, ginger, chili flakes and a lightness is brought by fresh lime juice and basil. Instead of tofu, I opted to bring back roasted chickpeas to my kitchen, lovely with their nutty flavour. I substituted almonds for the cashews and omitted the mint altogether. But anything goes with stir fries, so throw together your favourite combination of ingredients. 🙂 Just make sure your mise-en-place is ready to go before you heat your skillet – this will be fast! 🙂

For other hoisin sauce love, try my Tofu Hoisin with Baby Bok Choy.

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Astrid from Paulchen’s Foodblog.

Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce

1.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas, or a 19 oz can, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (peeled)
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 bunch of spinach (300g), coarsely chopped (or your favourite green)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (1 lime)
zest from 1 lime
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced

1. Have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove. Heat olive oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. Once hot, add the chickpeas, shaking occasionally, and cook until golden, 5-7 minutes. Remove the chickpeas from the pan and set aside.

2. Once cleared, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt to taste. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, almonds, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the chickpeas to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.

Serves 4.

  1. This looks so delicious!!!

  2. Hoison sauce always adds such a depth of flavor. This is my kind of meal. I’m always making veggie/bean stir fry. Sounds great!

  3. This is why I need to marry someone who hates to cook. The thought of combining my spice cabinet with another foodie’s gives me chills. And not the good kind. 😛

    I love a good stir fry and this looks excellent!

    • Nah, the benefits of being with someone who likes to cook FAR outweighs the initial combining of condiments, spices, etc. 🙂

  4. oh my goodness, lady..this looks beyond incredible. you. are. amazing.

  5. That IS a LOT of condiments!
    But the stir-fry looks and sounds delicious.

  6. Looks delicious n yummy..soo tempting..

  7. I think I’d be uber-excited to have so many new ingredients! Well, this is certainly a great way to start using them. Looks fantastic. And thanks for submitting it to the new WW event! 🙂

  8. I’ve fallen a bit out of the stir-fry loop lately, so thank you for this wonderful inspirational recipe! Love the idea of complimenting the nuttiness of chickpeas with real nuts!

  9. […] may have lamented about the explosion of condiments, but I am positive Rob was perplexed by my fascination of his hot sauce collection. Coming from me, […]

  10. Thanks for posting on Summer Wellness Weeknds – you’ve inspired me to try hoisin sauce!

  11. Wow, that looks nice! thanks for sharing at WHB #291

  12. It looks so good and it was fun to prepare (love those jumping chickpeas!), but mine turned out rather bland and dry. Any suggestion for the amount of salt? Or does the type of hoisin sauce matter? Mine was a thicker bbq-sauce like consistency, so I don’t know if that would affect the end result. I have to admit that I did change two things though, so that could’ve affected it a lot too: I haven’t yet find Aleppo flakes, so I used Hungarian paprika, and I didn’t use fresh ginger (and ended up picking out the bits of dried ginger root – beginner’s mistake to use that in the first place).

    • Ah nuts, sorry to hear that it was bland, Steff! My hoisin sauce is the thick BBQ-kind, so I think that was fine, but lime was also a prominent flavour and I used fresh lime juice. For the pepper, any chili flake would suffice but I think paprika would have been a reasonable substitute. The ginger, though, may have been the clincher, though, since fresh ginger is so different from the dried stuff. I wouldn’t even recommend substituting ground ginger, because I use them in different ways. The fresh stuff is much more potent! I use fresh ginger a lot, almost as much as garlic! Love the stuff!

  13. […] Wednesday Lunch: Asian Lettuce Wraps (made with left-over chicken) Dinner: Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce […]

  14. What a gorgeous dish! I love all the green and love that you replaced tofu with roasted chickpeas. I have a big bunch of asparagus in the fridge and now want to make this for dinner tomorrow. I need to get some spinach and green onions though…

  15. We made this last night and I LOVED it! I like how the hoisin adds something delicious but is not distinct. And the lime and basil (from my “garden”!) in there was so delicious. Yummmmmm. I can’t wait to eat it for lunch again. 😀

    • YAYAYAYA! I am so glad you scoped out the other ingredients, Ashley. I loved the mix of the fresh lime with the basil and hoisin, too. 🙂

  16. […] will get lambasted for using the most isoteric ingredients, but I love it because my kitchen is stocked with all things isoteric and I have bought even more pantry items! I also push myself to try new vegetables. Despite hating […]

  17. […] my favourite things to give or receive are new ingredients.  I enjoy having a cupboard filled with isoteric ingredients, although it sucks when you will be moving as often as myself. For gifts, though, I have one main […]

  18. […] Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce […]

  19. […] made multiple skillets before, and each time I gush over its simplicity.  I swear, I wasn’t […]

  20. Yup—I know you posted this two years ago, but I finally got around to making it when I searched for something with asparagus (it was on sale). Loved it! I agree with your tweak of the almonds rather than cashews. And how you thought of chickpeas rather than the tofu of the original boggles my mind, but what a great addition to a stir fry. My only tweak was doubling (okay, Ellen, let’s admit it: tripling! I’m a sauce hog) the sauce and then adding some Siracha and a splash of soy at the table.

    • Booyah! That’s great news. I am learning that I much prefer bold sauces but in smaller amounts, at least for salads. This way I can taste the veggies and little pops of uber flavour when I get some sauce, too. 🙂

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