Khong Bak Mui Choy
Serves 6 to 8 MEDIUM
Says chef Oon, “I love the skill and art of Hakka food. It may seem very 'country' but this dish incorporates sophisticated culinary techniques.”
300g salty mui choy
300g sweet mui choy
800g square piece of belly pork
with skin on** 3 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
½ tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
3 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
1½ cups pork stock
2 tbsp Chinese white wine (pi jiu) or yellow wine (hua tiao jiu)
1. Prepare the mui choy. Wash the salt off mui choy, drain and repeat with fresh tap water several times, then soak for ½ hr. It is best to use mostly stalk rather than leaves. So discard
½ of the leaves, squeeze dry the remaining leaves and set aside. Soak the hard stems in more fresh water for an extra ½ hr for the sweet mui choy and 1 hr for the salty mui choy to remove the excess salt. Drain and squeeze dry.
2. Cut away and discard the hard, solid root of the mui choy. Slice the stems and leaves of all the mui choy into
2cm lengths. You'll want about 300g stems and 200g leaves. Store away any excess. (The mui choy can be prepared a few days in advance. Wrap them in cling film, store in the fridge until required.)
3. Place pork in a saucepan and add enough water to fully immerse it. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 mins, then turn off heat, and cover the pan. Let the pork cool completely for about 6 to 8 hrs. Remove the pork and set aside two cups of the pork stock.
4. Cut the cooled pork into 2 rectangular pieces, then into 1 to 1½ cm thick slices.
5. Heat the wok over high heat, add oil and sauté chopped garlic until fragrant. Add pork, stir-fry for ½ min, then add in salt, sugar, dark soy sauce and 1½ cups of the stock. Bring to a boil, then add in the wine and simmer for 15 mins over medium heat.
6. Remove pork slices and set aside.
Add the mui choy into the gravy and simmer for 10 to 15 mins till the gravy thickens.
7. Place the pork slices skin side down in a heat-proof bowl. Arrange the vegetables in the middle and pour stock over. Press down well.
8. Steam for 2½ hrs over high heat till the meat is breakaway tender. Leave aside to cool a little. Invert the bowl over a plate, and serve the pork and mui choy as part of a Hakka meal.
**This dish incorporates the Chinese culinary technique of poaching a large piece of meat until semi-cooked. According to chef Oon, this ensures that once sliced into smaller pieces, the meat keeps its shape. This is called “twice-cooked meat”.
Khong Bak Mui Choy