Makes 20 filled leaves
The licorice tones of Chinese five-spice powder give this appetizer character. Vary the vegetables to include your favorites or to use up odds and ends. (You'll need about 4 cups total diced vegetables.) For larger servings fill six baby romaine or radicchio leaves with heaping quarter cupfuls of the vegetables.
¼ cup prepared Chinese plum sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon water, or as needed
Endive and vegetables
20 endive leaves, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro, or 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint, or to taste
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Ground white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon roasted peanut oil or canola oil
3 ribs bok choy, cut into ½-inch dice; also thinly slice the green tops
2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch dice
½ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper
2 green onions (both green and white parts), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Pour the plum sauce into a small bowl. Stir in water as needed until the sauce is a maple-syrup consistency. Set aside.
Arrange the endive leaves on a platter. Stir together the lime juice, soy sauce, cilantro, five-spice powder, red pepper flakes, and white pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy, carrots, bell peppers, green onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the lime juice mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the vegetables warm or let them come to room temperature. Fill each endive leaf with a heaping tablespoon of the vegetable mixture, drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of the plum sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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