Saturday, April 17, 2010

Steamed Red-Braised Pork with Pickled Mustard Greens 酸菜蒸紅燒肉

While we made Mao's Red-Braised Pork as is from Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe (in Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province), we were also very intrigued by the numerous variations she had listed at the end of the recipe. We thought we'd make a variation of the dish with the leftovers -- of which there were barely any.

There was Red-Braised Pork with Water Chestnuts and Red-Braised Pork with Garlic Cloves. I love the crunch of water chestnuts, and I am a garlic fiend. But, both these versions require deep-frying. Too lazy to do that.

There was also Red-Braised Pork with "Tea-Tree" Mushrooms. I thought this referred to black cloud ear mushrooms, which I really like. But, it turns out, "tea-tree" mushrooms are something completely different. I don't even know if those are available here.

Finally, I spotted something extremely easy to do. Plus, we already had the required ingredient at home: Steamed Red-Braised Pork with Preserved Mustard Greens 酸菜蒸紅燒肉.

Pickled Mustard Greens vs Preserved Mustard Greens
Well, actually, what we had at home was suan cai of the Taiwanese sort; the kind prevalent on top of Taiwan Beef Noodle Soups.

This suan cai is made by simply putting mustard greens into a jar and adding a little vinegar, a little salt and a little sugar.

(We've used this suan cai here and here and here.)

The suan cai Fuchsia Dunlop refers to are what she calls "preserved mustard greens." These are actually dried and salted mustard greens that are left to ferment in clay jars. She mentions that Tianjin Preserved Vegetable are made in the same manner.

(We've used Tianjin Preserved Vegetable in Mama's Fish Head Soup. The post has a picture of the jar.)

So, this dish may not be what Fuchsia (first name basis) meant, but I'm going with it.

Simply place your leftover red-braised pork, if there is any, in a dish and add the suan cai. Steam away!

Actually, one could just pop the whole thing in the microwave to make the whole process easier.

As mentioned in our previous post, I surprised myself by how much I loved the Mao's red-braised pork belly. I thought I had foresworn all "Chinese adobos," preferring the Filipino adobo instead.

In my head and my prejudice, all Chinese adobos tasted like sweet-ish soy sauce, but this version confounded me. It didn't taste cloyingly sweet-ish and it didn't taste very soy-saucy at all! The dish just seemed to me to be the highest apotheosis of pork, pork transcendent.

All that foreword because I really was sad to see the leftovers transformed into yet another dish! But it's all for the blog, the blog! ;)

By the way, I did like the steamed version with the pickled mustard greens, but probably not as much as I liked its mother.

eatingclub Hunan dishes
Hunanese Chopped Salted Chiles (剁辣椒)
Mao's Hunan Red-Braised Pork (毛氏紅燒肉)
Steamed Red-Braised Pork with Pickled Mustard Greens (酸菜蒸紅燒肉)
Hunanese Stir-fried Eggs with Green Peppers
Hunanese Steamed Chicken with Salted Chiles (剁辣椒蒸雞)

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  1. The thought of anything red-braised already makes me think of home, and topping it off with pickled mustard greens is like the Chinese way of saying - with a cherry on top. =)

  2. Jessica:
    It's the first-time we've "red-braised" using that caramel method. We'll be doing that more often!

    Teehee, you opened the door for us to make our won pickled veg. =)


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