Fish-fragrant Shredded Pork鱼香肉丝yú xiāng ròu sī

The sauce for this classic Sichuan dish is called “yuxiang” in Chinese, which literally means ‘fish aroma’ . But do not be fooled by the name – there is no fish involved in the recipe at all. Most of the cookbooks say that it got this name because it’s often used when cooking fish, which it is not a bad explanation. But I’ve found that the traditional recipe for yuxiang included chilies fermented with crucian carp, which gave the sauce a deep, anchovy-like flavor; hence perhaps, the name.

I emphasize using pickled chilies, which can be easily prepared at home (click here for recipe) or purchase it in the Asian market. They have a purity of flavor that is hard to beat.

Serves 3-4,

  • 2 tablespoons                                    dried ear mushrooms (after rehydration)水发后的黑木耳, roughly chopped
  • 450g/1 pound                                   pork tenderloin, shredded/thinly sliced猪里脊肉切丝
  • 3 +2 tablespoons                              cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon                                      Sichuan fermented bean paste豆瓣酱
  • 3 to 4 medium-size pickled peppers and 1 inch of pickled ginger, or replace pickled pepper and ginger with fresh long red peppers, 泡椒/姜 (click here for homemade recipe)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 spring onions (white parts only), minced. Save minced green for garnishing
  • 1 inch, ginger, minced
  • 1 fresh red pepper                           thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh green peppers    thinly sliced
  • 1 piece                                                  Bamboo shoots, sliced (optional)

Marinade Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                      corn flour生粉
  • 1/2 teaspoon                     salt
  • 1 tablespoon                      Chinese cooking wine 

Seasoning sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                       corn生粉 flour
  • 1 and half tablespoons      caster sugar白糖
  • 1 and half tablespoons     Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
  • 1 tablespoon                        light soy sauce生抽
  • 2 tablespoons                      Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon                            sesame oil

Method

  1. If you use dried ear mushroom, please soak the dried ear mushrooms with clean water for 20 minutes.

2. Shred the pork tenderloin and then marinade with salt, cooking wine and scorn flour. Mix well and set aside.

3. Shred the black ear mushrooms, peppers and bamboo shoots into in similar sizes.

4. Prepare another bowl, add all the ingredients for seasoning sauce; mix well and set aside.

5. Heat up 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok; add shredded pork to stir-fry until the pork become white from pink. Move shredded pork out of the wok.

6. Place 2 tablespoons of oil in wok; add 1 tablespoon of fermented bean paste. Fry for 2 minutes till aromatic. Add into sliced pickled ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger and green onion (white part) to stir fry for the aroma. Add into sliced peppers bamboo shoots and ear mushrooms; and return the pork shreds.

7. Add seasoning sauce and do some stir-fry until the sauce is evenly coated on the ingredients.

8. Move out from the wok and garnish some green part of the spring onions.

9. Enjoy the dish with a bowl of hot white rice.

Tips

Since doubanjiang (fermented bean paste), pickled peppers and soy sauce contain salt. So you may need just a little or none of the salt at all in this recipe.

Pickled Red Chili Pepper 四川泡椒sì chuān pào jiāo

When you have a jar of pickled chilies made from truly fresh ingredients, the taste is a couple of thousand times more wonderful than anything a commercial producer can make. The canning process is easy and straightforward. To make the recipe work, always sterilize your canning jars and lids and remember laying one layer of peppers, then salt and Sichuan peppercorns. It is an indispensable ingredient for an authentic Fish Fragrant Shredded Pork, a classic Sichuan Cuisine dish.

Ingredients

  • 900g                                       water, tap water is perfectly fine
  • 450g                                       red chili pepper, serrano chilies or Thai bird chilies, or any red hot chilies available to you
  • 250g                                       ginger, peeled and cut into big slices
  • 250g                                       salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons                 Sichuan peppercorns花椒

Method

  • Clean and sterilize canning jars and lids. Drain.
  • Peel the ginger, rinse the red chili pepper and drain. Again, use clean kitchen towel to pat them dry.  
  • Bring the 900g water to a boil. Make sure your pot is clean when boiling the water. Once water is boiled, turn off the heat and leave the water to cool down to the room temperature.
  • Get 1 canning jar, place one layer of red chili pepper and ginger, followed by another one layer of salt. Then sprinkle some Sichuan peppercorns on top of the salt. Repeat the process until all ingredients are used up. Pour the cooled water to the pickle jar. All your ingredients should be soaked in the water. Cover the lid.
  • Place the jar in a cool environment. You can start enjoy the pickled peppers and ginger in 7 days later. Do remember to use clean utensils whenever you take some pickled peppers and gingers out of the jar.
  • Do keep the liquid in the jar. This is the ‘mother’ pickling juice in which you can throw more vegetables (red peppers, cabbage, green beans, radishes, daikon) for your next batch of pickled vegetable.

Crab and Avocado Stack 蟹肉牛油果沙拉xiè ròu niú yóu guǒ shā lā

This refreshing layered salad makes an impressive presentation and tastes delicious. Serve this for an elegant sit down dinner party as an appetizer or enjoy it as a light and yummy lunch.

Serves 1-2  

  • 120g                            cooked crab meat, or 1 small can of crab meat, keep the empty can for stacking蟹肉
  • 1 tablespoon              spring onions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon              cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 or 4                           cherry tomato, diced
  • ½                                   red bell pepper (1 red chili pepper if you prefer it a bit spicy), minced
  • 1 tablespoon               mayonnaise蛋黄酱
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (½ + ½)       lemon juice
  • avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon               light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 teaspoon                   extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Place canned crab meat in a bowl, squeeze the meat to remove the water. In the same bowl, add into minced spring onion, cilantro, diced tomato rand minced red pepper. Add into 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise – this helps add moisture and a little creaminess to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients well.
  2. Get a separate bowl. Remove the skin of avocado. Use a spoon to mash the avocado. Add the other half teaspoon of the lemon juice. Mix well.
  3. Now, let’s plate the dish. Use a dual open-ended cylindrical mold to form the stacks. You can use ramekins too. Or if you do not have any of those tools, just fill into the empty can with crab meat mix first, press it down to make the fillings tight, then place avocado on top of the crab meat. Get a serving plate, flip the filled can and place the stacks in the middle of the plate, remove and discard the can.
  4. Let’s make the sauce. Get a small bowl, mix light soy sauce and olive oil. Drizzle the sauce on top of the stacked crab meat mixture and avocado stacks.

 

Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry炒时蔬chǎo shí shū

Get a weeknight meal in minutes with this colorful, tasty and easy stir fry recipe packed with fresh vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, and peppers. Tweak the recipe by using any of your favorite veggies: zucchini, squash, snow peas, celery – you name it.

Serves 2-4

  • 2 tablespoons                    Cooking oil
  • 4-5                                       swiss brown or buttoned mushroom, sliced
  • ½ cup                                   Chinese black fungus (black wood ear mushrooms. Dried wood ear mushroom is available at any Asian markets. Take a tablespoon of dried mushrooms and soak in the water to rehydrate before use.
  • 1                                                red or yellow bell pepper, cut into bite size
  • 1 cup                                        broccoli, split into bite size
  • A few stalks bok choy or a few leaves of Napa Cabbage
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoons             oyster sauce蚝油

Method

  1. Heat the cooking oil over medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms first and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Toss into the rest of the vegetables. Stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add into the oyster sauce. Mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. Serve with a bowl of rice.