I have never eaten this dish for ages but I can remember very clearly the taste of this aromatic dish. I have also never seen it sold at mixed vegetable rice stores or at restaurants. I do not know the origin of this dish and I have no other information to share about the dish.
This is a common dish during my childhood. The reason that she cooked rather often because we needed these dried squids or cuttlefish for larger scale praying such as Ching Ming, Hungry Ghost festivals and Chinese New year eve. This is one of the 5 items represent the meat and seafood dishes for praying (五牲）。 Among other items are duck, chicken, pork, fish or crabs. Therefore, after festivals, we had a few pieces left and this is the way she cooked these dried squids.
That day while I was holidaying in Langkawi, I saw some rather fresh and affordable dried cuttlefish being sold, I bought a package back to Singapore. It has about 10 pieces in the package and these can last me for a very long time. Usually, I boiled this with soup and another dish that uses a bit more are stir fry yam bean or jicama and also the abacus seeds. I have therefore decide to replicate this dish to eat with porridge.
The cooking time of this dish is very short. Bear in mind that overcooked dried cuttlefish or fresh squid can make the meat very tough unless you simmer it for hours like it soup. No matter how long it is cooked, it will not melt in the mouth. To reduce the toughness, the strategy is to cook it only with a short period of time, soak before cook as long as possible and slice as thinly as possible. Having said that, those who liked dried squid will be able to imagine that it is an aromatic dish just like other jiu hu dishes.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 3-4 adult servings
- 300 grams of pork belly
- 3 medium size dried cuttlefish
- 3 shallots
- 2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
- Few sprigs of Chinese celery
- Dashes of white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Boil the pork belly in a pot of hot water until almost cooked. Cool and slice into thin pieces.
- Slice the shallots into thin pieces.
- Cut the dried cuttlefish into very fine stripes of about 1mm x 1mm . You can use the scissor to do the cutting. The finer it is, the less chewy will be the cuttlefish. Soak the dried cuttlefish for at least 4-6 hours. Drain and set aside.
- In a wok, put one tablespoon of cooking oil, sauce the sliced shallots until golden brown and aromatic. Add the slice pork belly and dark soya sauce, stir fry until aromatic. Add the soaked cuttlefish and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the cuttlefish changes shape. Add dashes of white pepper and chicken stock powder before dishing up to serve with white rice or rice porridges. If you prefer to have some gravy for the rice, you can add a small quantity of the water before adding the seasoning.
This recipe is recorded for my family purposes and as a remembrance of my late parents. If not because of my brother who cooked this dish last year specifically for me, I may have totally forgotten about the dish.
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