Adapted from Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach
The original version of the recipe called for one large bunch of asparagus, but there was way more asparagus than sauce, and not enough asparagus for four servings – especially as the flavor's quite good. Therefore I have increased the amount of asparagus and left everything else the same. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek or a couple of small fresh chiles, finely chopped; I used two Thai (bird) chiles.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut in to 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 7 medium cloves)
1 teaspoon sambal oelek or a couple small fresh chiles, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Fresly ground white pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well. Blanch the asparagus for 90 seconds, then drain in a colander.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just a few seconds, until fragrant but not browned. Add the drained asparagus and crank the heat all the way up. Stir-fry for a minute. Add the sambal or chiles and fish sauce and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the oyster sauce, sugar and a few grinds of white pepper. Stir-fry for a few more seconds, then add the stock and cook until the sauce is thicker than water but nowhere near a glaze, just a couple of minutes.
Serve on a large platter or in a shallow bowl. Eat hot.