I am unsure if readers are aware, few weeks before Chinese New Year, wet markets and supermarkets are full of Chinese leek (蒜） Most families will buy some leek and keep in the fridge because it has some auspicious denotation as leek (蒜） have the same pronunciation as counting (算）. Therefore, it is believed that by eating some Chinese leek, the families will have a lot of wealth to count and have a good year ahead..
It is my family’s custom to have leek dishes during the Chinese New Year period (meaning from the first to fifteen day of the 1st lunar Chinese months). We may or may not have this dish during the reunion dinner but it will definitely be served in one of the above mentioned 15 days.
I swore that I never like leek when I was young. Leek is like a hybrid of onion and garlics and have a strong pungent smell. There are many ways to cook leek that include leek omelette , leek fried rice and leek fried with prawns and etc. . But in my own family, my wife has been cooking leek in this manner for many years. She just like to stew dish with fermented soya beans and the taste are wonderful. It is very aromatic and when we served guest with the dish, most will not be able reject this dish.
If you are looking for a simple leek dish, you can consider this rather fuss free recipe. In my family, as my wife and kids like very mushy leeks, the cooking time is much longer than what I suggested here. If you like soft and mushy leek, you will have to extend your timing of cooking. On the other hand, though flavourful, it is not as beautiful or appetizing as what I have shared in this post due to the discoloration of greenish leek to yellowish brown.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings : 4-6 adult servings
- 5-6 leeks
- 200 grams of pork belly – cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons of fermented soya beans
- 1 medium size carrot
- 8 shitake mushrooms
- Sugar to taste
- Pinches of salt if necessary
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Clean the leek, cut off the roots and sliced it into thin pieces diagonally. Separate the white portion and the green portion in separate bowls.
- In a pan, put 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil , pan fry the pork belly stripes until all the external are set and slightly brownish. Push the pork belly to one side, put the white portion of leek and mushrooms, sauté until the leek is fragrant which will take 2-3 minutes. Add the red carrots and fermented soya beans. Add some water and the water must at least cover all the leek and meats. Bring to boil. Once it boils, turn the heat to medium and let it simmer until the leek and meat is soft (about 15 minutes). Add the green part of the leek, simmer again for 5 minutes. Before dishing up, add sugar to taste and if it is not salty, add pinches of salt. Best served hot with a bowl of steaming hot rice.
Not all Chinese New Year dishes are expensive. Traditionally, families do not cook expensive ingredients such as abalone, scallops etc. for Chinese New Year. There are many cheap dishes that have auspicious denotation during this period. I hope this dish will help those new house chef who are looking for new leek recipes.
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