Today’s offering is inspired by a Sichuan dish that features flash-fried green beans combined with ground pork, plus chilli and other typical Sichuan seasonings. The dish you see above departs from the basic theme by using zucchini, and the ‘three flavoured’ appellation stems from the fact that three different taste components are represented. The dish is spicy hot with homemade Simple Chilli Oil, salty, from Preserved Radish, and rich in the umami flavour of Chinese Dried Shrimp. Anyway, I have to apologize that I managed to lose my notes made whilst making this preparation but I think I can describe the basic idea as follows:
Reconstitute and then finely chop dried shrimp reserving the soaking water. Chop a similar amount of Preserved Radish finely. Fast fry batons of zucchini at very high temperature to sear the surface but leaving the flesh still crisp tender. Fry a little ground pork, separating the meat into ‘crumbs’ then add some minced ginger, white pepper, and garlic salt, followed by the radish, chopped shrimp and the soaking water. Add a little rice wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add the zucchini and sauté until heated through then stir in some chilli oil (including the solid chilli flakes) and serve hot
I think you should be able to get the basic idea from the above. In any event, the result was really delicious…
This omelettes, or egg-cakes, picture here contain Preserved Radish and Conpoy and are thus quite Chinese in character, although I don’t know if this particular combination has actually ever been tried before. I had first thought of serving them with the typical ‘brown sauce’ that was once common on westernized versions of ‘Egg Foo Yung’ but, instead, I went a little Japanese and just drizzled them with a little ‘Eel Sauce’, sweet condiment rather like Chinese Oyster Sauce, that one often encounters topping the Japanese ‘pizza’ known as Okonmiyaki. If this is not something you have on hand, you could substitute a little Oyster Sauce with a little rice wine and sugar added… Continue reading “Omelet with Salted Radish and Conpoy”
Today’s dish illustrates one use of the Preserved Radish that I introduced to you not long ago. In this case, it is a stir-fried dish with the primary ingredient being water-velveted Pork along with some Black Chinese Mushroom … Continue reading “Pork with Preserved Radish”
The radish in this particular case is the large variety most commonly known by the Japanese name Daikon. This very versatile vegetable is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The Chinese were probably the first to treat the vegetable this way but the technique is widely used elsewhere, especially in Korea and Thailand. Indeed, the product pictured above is of Thai manufacture… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Preserved Radish”
This particular foodstuff is something I have bought and used in a variety of different forms. The name on the can label, ‘Preserved Vegetable’ is further amplified in the Chinese script as being a Sichuan specialty, and one might be excused for thinking that the contents are any sort of vegetable that has been preserved in the style of Sichuan. In fact, any time you encounter the name ‘Sichuan Preserved Vegetable’, you are almost invariably dealing with a specific plant, sometimes known as a ‘Mustard Tuber’, which is fermented with salt and then quite heavily spiced, chiefly with chili paste or powder… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable”
Katsuobushi is a preparation of fish, specifically Skipjack Tuna, but also Bonito, that is dried, smoked and then fermented using a mold similar to that used for making soy products like soy sauce and miso. As it is a primary ingredient in the ubiquitous Japanese stock known as Dashi, it is thus one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Katsuobushi”
When I featured a commercially produced Chinese Preserved Pork Belly in a ‘Foodstuff’ post some time ago, I made a mental note to do a home-made version for you at some point. Unfortunately, whenever pork belly has appeared in our stores it has, until now, always been sliced and the slices are, as I discovered in a test recipe, just too thin to produce a decent result. A few days ago, however, I saw two one pound slabs of unsliced belly in our local store and I grabbed both of them. It is a shame that the rind has been removed but you can’t, as they say, have everything.
Many recipes for making preserved pork belly are quite complex and employ quite a variety of spices to flavor the meat. Some, especially recipes from Hunan, cold smoke the meat as well as salt-curing. Sichuan pepper is often used, as are Fennel, Cinnamon and Star Anise, but I don’t much care for the sweeter aromatics in this type of preparation and the version I will be making for you here is very straightforward and simple indeed…
Continue reading “Homemade Chinese-Style Preserved Pork Belly (五花臘肉)”
My wife often buys those packages of factory-made jerkies that are almost ubiquitous in super-markets and convenience stores now. I’ll eat the odd piece occasionally but, to be honest, I am not terribly keen on any of them. I find they have very artificial, chemical tastes to them and the texture is very often very poor.
Years ago, before I was married, I used to buy some terrific beef jerky at our local farmers market. It was very simply seasoned and the thick, foot-long strips were cut lengthwise along the grain of the meat making them robust and chewy (unlike the thin, friable industrial varieties commonly available these days). It took a good 30 minutes or so to gnaw away at one of those suckers and that’s what made them so darn satisfying. Today, I am going to make some good thick pieces in the same manner, keeping the ingredients light and simple so as to leave the original taste of the meat and not completely mask it with hydrolyzed-soy and high-fructose corn-syrup… Continue reading “Beef Jerky”
When I featured Chinese Preserved Pork-Belly in a recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post, I said that I planned to use some of it in a very common way by steaming it over rice. This dish, which permits of countless variations, is a very ‘homey’ sort of preparation and many people add the pork, along with other ingredients, to rice in electric steamers to make a quick, simple meal. I am using a clay-pot to steam my rice and I am departing from the more standard method by using pre-cooked rice, thus necessitating a fairly short cooking time. In addition to the pork, I will be adding some greens and other flavorful ingredients… Continue reading “Steamed Rice with Preserved Pork-Belly and Egg”
Preserving pork and other meats is quite common in cuisines around the world but this particular Chinese product, essentially a fattier cousin of the more familiar of jerky, is a favored treat in my kitchen. The appeal for me is that pork belly, when cured with salt and sugar, takes on a wonderfully fragrant sweetness that mimics the flavor of dried-apples. It is a fatty treat, to be sure… a fact which might make some cautious about eating it… but, in fact, since the cured rashers are typically used in small amounts to flavor other ingredients, you still may wish to give it try.
By the way, curing pork belly in this fashion is not that difficult in the home kitchen and, sometime in the coming months, I promise to do a post on the topic. For now however, I just want to feature one of the many commercial products available in most Asian groceries… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Chinese Preserved Pork-belly”