April 19, 2010

Stewed Pork with Preserved Beancurd/Hakka Char Yok

Char Yok is a traditional Hakka cuisine that my mother would prepared during the Chinese New Year. I often joked with her that this dish is the major highlight as it brings happy and familiar faces of her extended family members: the Tai's, Cheong's and the Goh's. They would often praise her about it and my mother takes great pride in her cooking.
Hakka Char Yok is belly pork marinated with spices and fried till crispy and then gently braised with preserved red bean curd (nam yu red sauce), wood ears, and pickled mustard. I like to use the pickled mustard from Ipoh-Malaysia, which has a distinctive flavor and is less salty. This post is a tribute to my late mother, who has influenced my cooking with her penchant to perfection--Bon Appétit!
1 lb. side belly pork (skin removed)
1 oz dried wood ears (soaked in water)
400 gms pickled mustard (ham choy)
1 Tbsp. Chinese wine or brandy
1 piece star anise
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cornflour
2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1¾ cups warm water
6 pieces nam yu
2 shallots, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small piece ginger, minced
Cooking oil
½ cup flour (coating)
1. Washed and cut pork in 2" pieces, dried with paper towels. In a bowl, mix well the following: Chinese five-spice powder; 2 pieces of nam yu; flour; cornflour; wine; and egg. Add in the pork and marinate meat overnight.
2. Washed and soak pickled mustard to remove any impurities and until water runs clear. Squeezed out excess water and cut into 2" pieces. Remove woody parts from wood ears and cut in 2" pieces. Set aside.
3. Heat enough oil in a deep saucepan on high heat. When oil is hot, coat each piece of meat with flour and shake off excess flour. Gently add to the hot oil to cook. Do not put in too much meat at one time as the meat will not cook properly. Do the same with the rest of the meat. Deep fried meat until golden brown. Drain meat on paper towels.
4. In another pot, add about one tablespoon oil, toss in the wood ears and pickled mustard and stir fry for about 5-10 minutes until the vegetables has absorbed most of the oil. Remove and set aside.
5. In the same pot, add in two tablespoon oil, fry the shallots, garlic, ginger, star anise till fragrant. Add in the rest of the nam yu and rest of the water. Using the back of the ladle, mashed the nam yu till it dissolved. Add in the wood ears, pickled mustard, and rest of the water. Stir in to mix well and let mixture comes to a boil, then simmer on low for about 30-45 minutes, until vegetables are soft and tender. Season to taste or add slightly more warm water if you like more gravy).
6. Add in the fried meat, mix and simmer on low for another 30 minutes till the meat has absorbed some of the gravy. Serve hot with rice.
Printable Recipe


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