Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Beaufort and Man Tai Restaurants are both popular for their 'interior' Hakka-style of cooking. Interior refers to those towns like Beaufort and Tenom where many Hakka families first settled into when they came to Sabah from China. I've tried adding cornstarch solution towards the end of frying the greens but the veg tasted bland and watery, without that 'wokfire'. That was then. Now I can fry up a mean dish of choysum just like Beaufort because someone has told me the secret: add cornstarch in the beginning. This way the cornflour will not taste 'raw' and it will still thicken and coat the veg when water is added or comes out from the veg as it cooks. The restaurants also use lard, msg and fry in small batches to keep the 'wokfire'.
1 small bunch choysum, washed and cut into 5-6 cm lengths
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 heaped t cornflour
1/2 t salt
dash of msg
1 T water
veg oil or better still, lard
1. Put 3 to 4 T oil in a hot wok, throw in salt, garlic and cornflour (no water added) and quickly add all the choysum, msg, then add 1 T water. If it looks too dry, add another 1 T water but not too much because water will come out from the veg as it cooks. The water will thicken so you just have to practice till you perfect this method by adjusting the amount of water and controlling the heat. When veg is just wilted from frying, dish up. Do not overcook.
Add the cornflour to the hot oil. It will sizzle and bubble.
2. If using pork, cut it into thin slices and marinade with salt, white pepper and a little bit of cornstarch and water. Heat oil in wok and fry till cooked. Add to choysum when the veg is just about totally wilted from frying, stir well to mix and dish up. Another way is to add cornflour to hot oil and add the pork, as for the veg above. Fry till until cooked (may have to add some water), add the veg, then mix both together and dish up.
note: you can use other greens such as Taiwan bok or bok choy. If you want more sauce, use 2 t of cornflour and add more water.