Chinese Broccoli and Dry Pork Belly Stirfry

廣式臘肉炒芥蘭

Published: December 12, 2018

I read something about the late President of United States, Mr George H.W. Bush and broccoli. It was said that he once said ‘he’s now the President and doesn’t need to have broccoli anymore’. Uncertain if this is true or not, but it reminded me when I studied in Stirling, Scotland, I lived in a corridor sharing one kitchen with other 9 schoolmates. Every dinner time when we cooked, I would be asked questions like ‘what are you going to have’ or ‘how would you cook the cabbage’ or ‘can you really finish all of this’, something like these. Well in those years I lived in dorm, I taught many of my neighbours how to cook vegetables in Chinese way. A quick stirfry with garlic can be 100 times more delicious than just poaching.

There are some sorts of vegetables that wouldn’t be tasty in salad. And there are some sorts of them with special flavour. To be honest, I wouldn’t have poached broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower. Moreover, once the vegetable is stir-fried, we would consume more. I usually cook 500 gram of green vegetable for one meal, such as Bak Choy, Choy Sum, for me and my pal. Imagine 500 gram of vegetables in salad.

There is one significant character of Cantonese – there has to be at least one green vegetable in dinner table. Otherwise it wouldn’t be considered a proper dinner. So in this recipe, I would show one of my favourite vegetable, also the simplest, the most common one, Chinese broccoli, aka gai-lan. Chinese broccoli has tough stalk and leaf, with a little mustard flavour, and tastes sweet after cooking.

Ingredients –
Chinese broccoli, 500g;
Cantonese dry pork belly, 50g;
Ginger, 20g;
Salt and sugar.

How to do –
1. Remove the very tough leaves, wash and rinse in water, then tear into mouth size;
2. Dry pork belly sliced. You could use dry sausage, or just pork belly, or even bacon. Pork fat and vegetable are perfect match;
3. Ginger sliced also;
4. In a big wok or frying pan, add 2tbsp of oil, heat it, then put in the pork belly. Stir-fry in medium high heat till fragrant, turn crispy on the edges and fat released;
5. Put in the ginger and also stir-fry till fragrant;

6. Now put in the Chinese broccoli. Usually in restaurant, it would be stir-fried quickly so it would look green and nice. But it’s home-cooking and Chinese broccoli is very tough, so I would put on the lid and let them half steam and half stirfry in the wok, for about 1 or 2 minutes;
7. Lid off, add in 1tsp of salt, 2tbsp of Chinese cooking wine and 1tsp of SUGAR. Yes, we put sugar in stirfrying Chinese broccoli, only, not in other vegetables! Unlike Shanghainess, Cantonese hardly season vegetables with sugar, especially leafy types. I assume it’s for covering a bit of its mustard flavour;

8. Keep stir-frying in high heat for 1 minute then serve right away when it’s hot.

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