Wednesday, March 17, 2010

La Rou With Celery


Lily is here from Jiangxi and brought me some la mei--Chinese sausages called la chang and 'bacon' called la rou-- that her mom made last winter. I steamed some of each and they were just fabulous! I even eat all the fat. Leaving the fat out would be like eating a cake without the frosting. One thin slice of sausage on one chopstickful of rice. Repeat. And repeat. Heavenly, really heavenly. The flavor is unlike store-bought la mei and the xien (savory sweetness) taste is crazy tasty.

Home-made Chinese sausages and bacon are totally different from store-bought ones in looks, flavor, texture and taste. Each region in China, each family even, has its own recipe and the variations in taste and flavor make every link of la chang and piece of la rou exciting and satisfying. I think the superiority in taste of home-made cured meat is because the meat is specially chosen and cured naturally in the winter wind and not in a temperature-controlled factory.

La rou is often stir-fried with vegetables for a very simple dish. I found that on my last visit to China in December last year. The greens, usually those with a crunch to complement the bite in the meat, pick up the oil and flavor from the la rou while the la rou intensifies in taste and flavor after frying. A dish of la rou and greens with a bowl of white rice satisfies the most fussy tastebuds, even those of my son Wey. Before the Guilin trip, Wey wouldn't touch la rou but now he constantly bugs me for Lily's la rou. I'd love to get the recipe for making la mei so that those of you in the southern hemisphere who are going into winter now can make some.

The Cantonese like to blend fried ingredients together with a seasoned cornstarch and water mixture but for this dish, I prefer to leave out the cornstarch for a more crispy, refreshing taste or what the Chinese call 'mouth feel'. If you can't get good la rou, maybe you can use a good bacon which is still better than the hard blackish waxy commercial la rou that we get here. Other than celery, you can use kai lan stems or other crunchy veggies. Cut the meat and the veggies about the same size and shape. That means if your la rou is in strips, cut your veggies in strips too. Btw, I don't string my celery stalks anymore so that the fiber remains but if you prefer the celery to be tender, you can do that. I generally don't peel my root veggies anymore. I don't even peel my carrots when I bake carrot cake. If you think about it, why do we peel carrots? Or radish or cucumbers or eggplant?

Correction: I ate a lovely celery and scallops stir fry today (26/3/10) and the celery was very tender and there were no hard fibers. The celery was not only stringed, it was peeled smooth. I'm now convinced that for stir fries, you have to peel the celery.


La Rou With Celery
2 large stalks celery, sliced thinly
3/4 cup thinly sliced la mei or either la rou or la chang
1/4 t sugar
2 T chicken broth
1/8 t salt

1. Fry the la rou without oil in a wok over medum fire. When the la rou is golden, about 5 minutes or more, remove to a plate.

2. Add the celery to the same wok which now has some oil from the la rou. Add the salt and sugar and fry for a minute. Add the broth and toss, then cover with a wok lid for about 30 seconds. The broth acts to blend the flavors of the two ingredients and also cooks the celery (adding water quickens the cooking).

3. Remove the lid and toss. Taste and season if necessary but remember that the la rou is salty. Add the la rou, tossing well for about 20-30 seconds. If necessary, add another tablespoon of broth. When the liquid has dried up some (not too much or too little), remove onto a serving plate. Serve with hot rice.


zurin said...

the celery look so snazzy! I must cut like that next time.:)) tq for spicing up my veggie life.^^

hongyi said...

YUM. These were super tasty in Guilin. Ohh guilin. I wish I could have a bit of meefen now...very scared of bread already. Imagine having them for brekkie, lunch and dinner everyday -_-

Cheryl and I found an Asian supermarket and we almost hugged each other and cried cappy tears when we went in...we can hardly find any asian food in Delft! It's pretty big, they've gots lots of stuff, including la rou but I doubt it'll taste as good as the ones we had in guilin...

miss u miss u miss u

Jade said...

homemade la rou sounds amazing. be lovely if we could make it in england, considering it's pretty much winter all year round

NEE said...

wow the way you put it gosh...feel like eating the comp screen already. makes me feel like i need to know more chinese friends heehhee

terri@adailyobsession said...

zurin: :)) i'm nearly vegetarian most days now. but smtimes i feel deprived.

yi: all 3 of u never liked bread, esp the boys. i can't see them surviving a month in europe on bread.

jade: ok, i will try n get the recipe for u but i'll drop by for dinner

nee: i've learnt so much about food n other things frm them.i'm blessed.

Pam said...

This looks and sounds delicious! Just wish I could get the hang of chopsticks though!

Jade said...

haha, for getting me the recipe, you can drop by for lunch AND dinner!

Patty said...

That celery does look very very snazzy, thanks for the recipe!

Big Boys Oven said...

yet simple and end but having an awesome delicious dish!, just execellent! :)

terri@adailyobsession said...

pam: i couldn't use chopsticks correctly until I was about 30, n i grew up using chopsticks but it's one of those things where once you get it, you wonder why it took you so long bc it's so natural n easy!

jade: ok, raincheck. i'll try my best to get it bc i do want to come for lunch n dinner :D

nee: u shd! i learn so much frm them n all those tt i've met so far are very nice ppl.

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