It’s amazing how with years of cooking vegetables I’m still constantly finding new exciting recipes to try. Recently Kevin and I went to a Chinese Restaurant that serves a huge variety of traditional Chinese dishes called Da Feng Shou (Good Harvest). The tag line mentioned Fu Zhou Home Cooked Dishes which piqued my interest (as you know I’m Foochow), but the menu appears to be a mixture, with a slight bias to Szechuan dishes. No big deal, plenty of things I like anyway.
Kevin spotted Xue Li Hong on the menu and insisted on ordering it. Its Chinese name translate to Red in the Snow, which could be a little morbid come to think of it. But it’s actually a type of Preserved Mustard Green, and it’s super easy to make at home. The dish blew my mind with its explosion of flavours and it goes so well with rice. Needless to say, I decided to try it at home. Here’s my version:
Traditionally, Xue Li Hong is made with Gai Choy, though nowadays Choy Sum is also commonly used. I opted for the latter as it’s easier to find. The process involves just few steps: First you wash the leaves clean and separate the stalks, then you generously sprinkle salt over and gently rub into the leaves, wait for an hour or so until everything softens, then put the whole bunch into a ziploc bag to preserve in the fridge. 1 or 2 days would be enough, checking it from time to time to drain exceed liquid, but 1 week would be more ideal.
When you are ready to cook, simply take the Xue Li Hong out, rinse it well, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop into small pieces. Like so:
I wanted to keep this dish simple yet flavourful, so I’ve chosen to fry it with Pork Lard, Mince Pork and a touch of chili. The ingredients are as follow:
Pork Lard (I cut it off a piece of pork belly I was using the cook another dish)
100g Mince Pork, marinate with a touch of soy sauce, Shao Xing wine and white pepper
Xue Li Hong (of course)
2-3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Chili Padi
First, let’s render the pork lard. Heat the pan and add in the small pieces of lard and cook until brown. You’ll see plenty of oil rendered with just that tiny bit. Keep the crispy bit in the pan of course, it’s like golden treasure.
Bring the heat to high, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add mince pork to cook until no longer pink. Lastly, add the Xue Li Hong to pan along with chopped chili padi (I only add one because our chili padi is rather powerful, feel free to adjust to your taste). Just a splash of water to bring everything together, and you can turn off the heat. Serve hot with rice.
Take note that the Xue Li Hong is already salty, so there’s no need to add anymore salt.
The whole dinner spread:
Pork Belly Adobo and Green Bean Omelette. Simple dishes, maximum flavours, happy tummies!