Pickled Vegetable with Pork 梅菜扣肉 is one of my favorite comfort food. Many of my Cantonese friends also love it! Be warned, it is fatty and highly addicting AND it must be eaten with steaming hot white rice. If you cook Asian cuisine often, you probably have most of the ingredients for this dish already in your pantry. The only two ingredients I had to go and buy were the pickled vegetables and Hua Diao wine, a type of rice wine (literally translates to “flower carved wine”, both of which are available in traditional Chinese supermarket stores). Read here to learn why this wine is called “Flower Carved Wine”.
Pickled mustard green (a.k.a. salty vegetable) is a traditional specialty of Hakka people. Hakka (literally translates to “guest families”) are Han Chinese who have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China. Between November and January, Hakka farmers grow mustard greens in the fallow field. As the winter draws near, the vegetables that cannot be consumed fresh are pickled with coarse salt and dried in the sun for storage.
Legend has it that this sweet and savory dish was created by Xu Dong Bo, a well known Writer, Poet, Painter, Calligrapher, Pharmacologist and a Statesman during the Song Dynasty era. When Xu Dong Bo lived in the Huizhou, he sent two Chefs all the way to Hangzhou to learn more cooking. When the two Chefs returned to HuiZhou, Xu Dong Bo asked them to imitate another popular dish of Hangzhou called “Dong Bo Kou Rou“ and combine it with pickled vegetable to create “Mei Cai Kou Rou” (Pickled Vegetable with Pork). The result was phenomenal. It became a hit with the wider Huizhou population and thus became a Huizhou signature dish, always served during festivities and other special occasions.
Pickled Vegetable with Pork 梅菜扣肉
Brush a coat of dark soy sauce on pork, then fry in hot oil (around 350F) for 3 minutes all sides or until crispy.
Chop pork in smaller pieces. You can quickly soak the fried pork in cold water to cool it down.
In a bowl, mix the chopped pork with dark and lite soy sauces, green onions, cooking wine, and sugar. Set aside.
Drain the water from the soaked pickled vegetable, then chop in smaller pieces. (BTW, you must soak the vegetable for at least 30 minutes, otherwise it will be too salty!) Heat up wok to medium heat and add about one tablespoon of oil. Then add the chopped pickled vegetables. Stir for a few seconds and add the sugar, soy sauce, and cooking wine. Stir for another 2-3 minutes before turning off the heat.
Steam for 30 minutes. Take a serving plate and VERY carefully flip the hot bowl.
Pickled Vegetable with Pork 梅菜扣肉
1 lb of pork belly
Chinese fermented vegetable, pre-soak in water for 30 minutes
for fermented vegetable:
2 tsp sugar
lite soy sauce (to taste)
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
for pork marinate:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp cooking wine
1 to 2 tbsp sugar
1. Heat oil in a wok or pan for frying. Soak the fermented vegetable for 30 minutes.
2. Poke the skin part of the slab of pork belly using a fork or knife. Then, brush a layer of dark soy sauce to the skin. When oil is ready (340F), slowly add the pork and fry until skin is golden brown and crispy. Remove from wok and dip in cold water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Next, drain the water from the pickled vegetable and slice in small pieces.
4. Heat about a tbsp of oil in a wok or pan, add the vegetable and stir. Add dark soy sauce, lite soy sauce, sugar and cooking wine. Turn off heat, remove from pan and set aside.
5. Slice the pork to about 2 inch thick and place in medium sized bowls. Then, add garlic, green onions, sugar, salt, dark and lite soy sauces and cooking wine. Mix well.
6. Take another bowl. Neatly arrange the sliced pork in the bowl and cover the top with the fermented vegetables. Steam for 30 minutes.
7. After 30 minutes, flip the bowl over a serving plate and serve.
*You will have extras to make several bowls!