I do not have confidence that any of my readers will try recipe but it is a recipe that is so precious to me and therefore I have decided to blog..I missed this common North eastern Chinese dish for at least more than 10 years.. I used to have this dish during winter when I was stationed in Changchun, Jilin Province back in mid 2000s..This is a Manchurian dish that is so common in the Chinese province of Jilin or Heilongjiang near the boarder of Korea. It is one of the dishes （年猪烩菜）in the famous Manchurian 8 big bowls (满族八大碗） which was served at important occasion and festivals.
During my stay at Changchun, I stayed in a hostel and there was a chef to cook and serve us meals. Every times when he cooked the dish, I will be extremely delighted because i loved the meat flavoured sour Chinese cabbage soup.. This dish appeared rather often during winter because in the area where temperature is lower than –20 degree Celsius, fresh green vegetables was virtually inexistence. Most families would preserved their Chinese cabbage is saline water and let it fermented for winter usage. After fermentation for a few weeks, the vegetables will turn sour naturally . Household usually prepared a big jar of these Chinese cabbage during autumn before arrival of winter.
All these while I loved Chinese cabbage and sour mustard and this vegetable is unique in the sense that it is sour but used napa cabbage that yields another aroma different from sour mustard..
I have wanted to cook this dish when I am back to Singapore but I do not know where to buy this unique preserved vegetables in Singapore. I knew I checked many supermarkets in the initial few years but in vain.
Possibly due to the influx of new Chinese immigrants in Singapore , supermarket especially Sheng Shiong started to sell lots of Chinese food items imported from China. These items are rather new and I have never seen that being sold until recently. When I saw the sour napa cabbage being sold at Sheng Shiong yesterday (picture above), I immediately grab a pack and decided to cook myself a meal and introduce to my family members.. This vegetable was stored in the chiller section and the price is very reasonable.
This dish can be eaten alone as a soup dish with white rice or it can be eaten as a noodle dish. In North Eastern China, people usually served with fen tiao or a type of mung bean or sweet potatoes flat noodles. One of the disappointments that I have for this illustration is that this mung bean flat noodles that I bought from Sheng Shiong yesterday is not as “tough” as it should be.. It is not springy enough. Personally, I think the Korean version of sweet potatoes noodles should be a good alternative. Well, if you can’t get the mung bean flat noodles, you can use the common glass noodles and some recipe used glass noodles instead of mung bean flat noodles.
This is a short cut method using steamboat shabu shabu pork slices. Traditionally, a big piece of pork belly was boiled until cook and sliced by the chef. Since shabu shabu pork is readily available, I have decided to use this and test will not be compromised much.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
- 250 grams of sour napa cabbage
- 500 grams of pork belly slice
- Some mung bean flat noodles (optional)
- 5 cloves of garlics
- 5 cm of ginger, sliced
- 2 sprigs of spring onion
- 3 cloves of star anise
- 1 cup of Chinese cooking wine
- Additional white vinegar, if necessary
- 1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
- Salt to taste
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Soaked the flat mung bean noodles in water until soft. Brownish colour mung bean noodles is a better choice as it will not disintegrate after braising. These noodles are optional and if noodles are used, it can be considered as a pot dish.
- Cut the sour napa cabbage into small pieces and set aside.
- In a wok, put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, sauté the spring onion, star anise, garlics and ginger until aromatic. Add the cut sour cabbage and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until it is fragrant and the napa cabbage becomes dry. Add about 2-3 cups of water and bring to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes. Off the heat.
- In a clay pot, first layer with the spring onion, star anise, garlics and ginger. You can use the one that has been sautéed earlier and add in additional quantities. The second layer shall be the mung bean flat noodles followed by the cooked sour cabbage. Add the rice wine and the broth shall be at least cover the cabbage. Add pinches of salt, additional white vinegar and chicken stock powder.
- The final layer is the sliced pork belly. Transfer the clay pot to the stove, bring to boil and once it boils, lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for at least additional 15 minutes. The clay pot dish is best served hot with white rice or a standalone dish.
Whether any readers tried this dish is irrelevant to me. It is hard for me to convince readers to try something new or not being sold in the region. May be when you have a chance to eat this dish and you like it, you can then come back and use this recipe to prepare for your family members. I blogged what suits my taste bud.
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