TastyAsia.net is now exactly one month old, and I’m humbled and pleased by the number of hits and follows so far. Thanks everyone for the comments and the “likes.” I really appreciate it.
It’s been a stressful week at work, and that makes me want simple and comforting things: my wok, a savory stir-fry, and a perfect bowl of rice. I just got back from Beijing, a city that’s known for its regal, impressive, and traditional banquet fare. Thick sauces. Ornate presentations. Peking ducks. Squirrel-fried fish. (Yes, really.) And while all of that is nice and elegant, it does really make me appreciate the simple tastes of good home cooking.
Not that things ever really get that fancy here on TastyAsia.net. In fact, a month ago when I started this project, WordPress asked me to pick a subtitle for the blog and on the spur of the moment I wrote “Comfort food. Mostly Chinese.” Here’s why. It’s because cooking is a great and methodical way to relax after a hard day. My job is very unpredictable, so cooking offers an antidote. It’s predictable. There’s a formula. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. That entire process, from unpacking the groceries to putting away the last dish, is a centering and soothing ritual, one that nourishes the body and renews the spirit. It should be relaxing and fun. The recipes should be low-stress, and the food should be wholesome and satisfying. That’s the spirit of this blog.
But I digress. On to tonight’s dish.
For the pork:
- 1/4 lb lean pork, sliced into small pieces about the size of mushroom slices
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tsp potato flour
For the mushrooms:
- 1/2 lb assorted mushrooms, roughly cut into pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2″ ginger, minced
- 1 Tbsp fermented black beans (豆豉, dòu chǐ), roughly chopped
- 1 scallion, sliced very thinly (for garnish)
For the sauce:
- 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp water or stock
- 1/2 tsp potato flour
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- Marinate the pork slices in a mixture of the soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, and potato flour for about 15 minutes.
- Heat the peanut oil in your wok until it just begins to smoke, then add the pork. Let the pork sit undisturbed for about 1-2 minutes until it begins to get opaque and starts to brown on one side, then stir-fry for an additional minute.
- Turn down the heat to medium low. Add the garlic and ginger, stir-fry for another 30 seconds; then add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until they begin to sweat and release some moisture. Don’t let anything burn. Add the fermented black beans and stir for another 30 seconds.
- Mix the soy sauce and water (or stock) with the potato flour and add the sesame oil, then add this mixture to the wok. Stir for a few seconds until the sauce thickens. Serve and garnish with the chopped scallion.
Variations: The pork can be omitted to make this a vegan recipe. (I guess the mushrooms can be omitted to make this a pork recipe, lol.) Make it spicy by adding 1 tsp chili oil to the sauce, or a handful of chopped, seeded, dried chiles to step 3. Substitute any colorful and pleasing garnish for the scallion.