Nam yue is red fermented beancurd, very salty and tasty, with its distinctive flavor and a hint of wine. Nam yue is most commonly used in making a Hakka dish called kew nyuk, which is stewed pork slices with taro. Another nam yue dish I love is nam yue stewed pork belly with black 'wood ears', a type of --horrors-- fungus that doesn't have much flavor, but gives a nice bite. Wood ears are also said to lower blood pressure and since they hardly contain much calories, they are good as fillers if you are on a weight-loss diet.
My son Wey loves deep-fried nam yue pork and I've found most men do too. It is one of those no-nonsense macho meat dishes that men can enjoy with a can of beer. My Dad used to drink a small glass of brandy everynight at dinner and to go with it, he liked pork coated with cornflour and deep-fried because the cornflour gives a very crisp, hard coating that doesn't go soft easily in our humid weather.
The 'Fu Chung' brand of nam yue has a good taste and strong flavor of 5-spice powder.
Deep Fried Nam Yue Pork
500 g belly or shoulder pork or spare ribs
2 pieces nam yue + 1 T of the sauce
3 T shaoxin wine or brandy, sherry
1 t sugar
1/4 t white pepper
2 shakes of msg/pinch of chicken stock powder
3 T cornflour, 1/2 T water
oil for deep-frying
extra cornflour for coating
optional: 1/4 t 5 spice powder
1. Cut pork into 5 cm x 5 cm (2" x 2") pieces. If using belly pork, score halfway deep on both sides or the pork will be too tough. Make sure the pork has a bit of fat or it'll taste dry after deep-frying.
2. Put the pork into a deep glass bowl and add all the other ingredients in, mixing very well with your hands. Cover and leave to marinade at least 3 hours, preferably longer.
3. Put 1 cup cornflour in a small bowl and dip the pork pieces in one by one to coat all over, shaking off excess flour.
4. Heat about 3 to 4 cups of oil in wok until very hot, lower the temp, then add 1/3 of the pork pieces one by one. Turn and fry the other side till done. Remove onto kitchen paper to drain and fry the next 1/3 batch and so on.
5. Serve hot with plain rice and a beer/wine.
Note: You can add garlic powder for extra flavor, but do not use fresh chopped garlic because that will give bits of burnt garlic on the pork.