Sunday, 3 February 2013

Recipe: Red Braised Chinese Leaf

This is a variation on a Kenneth Lo recipe "Hung Shao Pai Ts'ai" that we have been cooking for decades. As he says, "Unlike a meat dish, which one tires of continual eating, this vegetable dish can be eaten day after day." It's really nice.


1 Chinese leaf (1 to 1.5 kg)
2T Soy sauce
1T Dry sherry / rice wine
3T Chicken stock
4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked (at least 1 hour)
5T Oil (preferably groundnut)
2 Dried chillies
2 Spring onions, coarsely chopped
(1T = one tablespoon = 15ml)


(Note that you need to cook this in a wok, and it needs to have a tight fitting lid. It doesn't really work otherwise.)

Cut the Chinese leaf in half length-ways and then cut the halves into 1-cm slices. Discard the base. Wash, drain and dry.

Combine the soy sauce, sherry and stock in a bowl.

Drain the soaked Chinese dried mushrooms and slice finely, around 1-2mm thick. (The dried mushrooms are best soaked for several hours in cold water, but if you're in a hurry you can get away with soaking them for less time in hot water, but 1 hour is about the minimum.)

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the chillies and spring onions for between 1 and 2 minutes. (The longer, the more spicy the resulting dish. You know you have gone too far when the air is so full of chilli vapour that you stagger out into the garden like the victim of a world-war one gas attack ...) Discard the chilli and spring onion. Keep the flavoured oil in the pan.

Add the Chinese leaf and stir fry over a high heat for 4 minutes. (The Chinese leaf has to wilt before the next step. It's ok if it scorches slightly in places, but as with all stir-frying, you have to keep it moving all the time.)

Turn the heat down to medium and add the mushrooms and the soy sauce mixture. Mix well.

Turn the heat down to low and put a tight fitting lid on the wok. Leave to cook for 10 minutes.

(The original recipe thickens the sauce with cornflour at the end, but I think it's better without.)

And also ...

Those of you who remember Giles Murchiston will probably be as surprised as I was when I recently came across a submission by him, buried in the massive collection of written evidence gathered last year by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill. See pages 418-422 (or 420-424 of the PDF).

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