Kidneys and Snow Peas

Yaoz Chao Xuedou

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    This simple stir-fried dish of kidneys makes it easy to understand why Chinese gourmets treasure innards so highly. According to Mrs. Chiang, the only trick involved in preparing kidneys is to clean and rinse them very, very thoroughly; this will eliminate the unpleasant taste and odor that otherwise accompanies these delicious organs. This recipe combines them with crisp snow peas (xuedou)in a straightforward, relatively mild dish.

    Method

    Preparation

    ½ cup dried tree ears

    1 cup hot water, approximately

    Put the tree ears in a small bowl and cover them with the hot water. Set aside to soak for at least 20 minutes.
    4 pork kidneys Rinse off the kidneys, then cut each one horizontally into 3 or 4 slices. Cut out and discard the core in the middle of each piece of kidney, putting the usable brown outer parts of the kidney in a bowl of cold water as you finish each piece. Score one side of each piece of kidney in a diamond pattern by making incisions about ¼ inch deep and ¼ inch apart. Then cut each piece crosswise into slivers about ½ inch wide. Rinse the kidneys again very thoroughly under cold running water. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can with your hands and then put the slivered kidneys in a bowl.
    2 scallions Clean the scallions, then cut them, both the white part and most of the green, into 3-inch lengths; cut each piece into very fine shreds. Add the shredded scallions to the kidneys.
    ½-inch piece fresh ginger Peel the ginger, then cut it into very fine shreds. Add these to the kidneys.

    ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon cornstarch

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    3 tablespoons soy sauce

    1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking sherry

    Add the sugar, salt, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, and wine to the kidneys and mix thoroughly.
    6 ounces fresh snow peas Wash the snow peas carefully and break off the tough tips at each end.
    (tree ears) Drain the tree ears, then rinse them thoroughly and pick over them carefully to remove any impurities, such as little pieces of wood, that may still be embedded in them.

    Cooking

    2 tablespoons peanut oil Heat your wok or pan over a very hot flame for about 15 seconds, then pour in the oil. It will be hot enough for cooking when the first tiny bubbles form and a few small wisps of smoke appear.
    (snow peas) Quickly toss in the snow peas and stir-fry them for 30 seconds, using your cooking shovel or spoon to scoop the snow peas off the sides of the pan and spread them around in the middle.

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon water

    Add the salt and continue to stir-fry the snow peas for 45 seconds, then add the water and stir-fry the snow peas for about 30 more seconds before removing them from the pan to a serving dish.

    ½ cup peanut oil

    (tree ears)

    Return the pan to the same high flame and pour in fresh oil. When the oil is ready for cooking, add the tree ears and the salt and stir-fry them for 15 seconds.

    ½ teaspoon salt

    (kidneys and their marinade)

    (snow peas)

    Now add the kidneys and their marinade. Stir-fry them for 30 seconds.

    Return the partially cooked snow peas to the pan and stir-fry them, together with the kidneys, for about 2 minutes. As soon as the kidneys are cooked all the way through, serve them; overcooking will make the kidneys too tough and the snow peas too limp.