Just pictures today — I can’t take any kind of credit for this recipe, but I had to write about it because we seriously loved it that much! I have been on a real Chinese food kick lately (a couple of friends are coming over tonight and when I said we’re having Chinese food for dinner, one of them asked “When was the last time we had non-Asian food?” and I have to admit, it was a fair question). I think my enthusiasm has to do with the shock and awe I produce (in myself) by actually being able to produce food in my own kitchen that tastes Chinese. It still amazes me that by following a few basic principles and sticking to some flavor profiles (pork + ginger, for example), I can produce something Chinese-tasting!
Anyway, since I’m in the middle of this Chinese cooking phase, I tend to scour use real butter for Jen’s Chinese recipes, which always turn out for me. I found this recipe with the auspicious (or suspicious) name Fish-Flavored Pork and learned something new about the dried mushrooms I have been using for a few months now… they’re not mushrooms. They are tree ears, or wood ears, or cloud ears, depending on who you ask. The package I bought says “Dried Black Fungus”…. I naturally assumed dried black chinese mushrooms, which is what I needed, but alas…. when rehydrated, they are thin and chewy and have a distinct flavor.
For months, I basically ignored this fact (the fact that somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew these weren’t really mushrooms), and continued using the suspicious black fungus whenever I needed dried mushrooms. For the most part, they filled that role really well, and actually the distinct texture is surprisingly nice, especially in soups where a little added texture is welcome. But when I recognized them in Jen’s post, I realized I had found them a new home…… a dish where they really belonged.
This is one of those dishes that takes 10 minutes of prep and 5 minutes to cook — the kind of thing we make all the time for dinner. A bowl of rice, a few Korean banchans (veggie side dishes), and it’s done: you have dinner. Head over to use real butter for the recipe — and remember, you actually can make Chinese food at home!