Friday, January 18, 2013

西蒜豆干, Leeks with Bean Curds

The Leek, named 蒜 in Chinese has the same pronunciation as 算, meaning to 'calculate'. And so the vegetable has an auspicious significance during the Chinese New Year - that you would know to calculate (save or earn money, goods) for the coming year after having eaten the Leeks.

Most family have this dish; and it is one of my favorite that mum cooked often though the years, but i hasn't learned to calculate any better ;) Do take heed that this is an oily dish.

8 stalks of Leeks (Buy the ones with reddish covering like the ones pictured here. They are sweeter.)
1 square piece of traditional Beancurd
10 pieces of Dried Shrimps
3-4 tablespoons of Oil
1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Leeks - Trim away the yellowed, dried leaves. Cut off the roots. Opens up the leek with your hands while you rinses them under a running tap. You should notice lots of sand and dirt. Slice up the leek diagonally and place them in a bowl of water, swirl around to let the dirt settle to the bottom of the bowl. Take the leek out to drain in a colander.
Beancurd -  Cut into rectangle cubes. Heat up oil in wok, sprinkle a pinch of salt into oil. Deep fried the bean curds till golden brown. Remove from wok.
Dried Shrimps - Soak in a small bowl of water till it soften. Remove from liquid.

Heat up oil in wok. Add in dried shrimps and cook till medium browned. Add in bean curds. Add light soy sauce, followed by the Leeks; and let these stand for a good 3 minutes, do not stir. You may cover the wok. Turn to medium heat and simmer the vegetables till it soften and cooked, give it the occasional stir. Add salt at any one time to taste.

Unlike cooking of other vegetables, do NOT add water to the cooking of this dish.

Traditional recipe for this dish often includes Pork Belly strips to be added before the bean curds - and that was Grandma's recipe. I believe it would be heavenly.

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