Talking with Chinese-American friends, I discovered commonality in our experiences of growing up with mothers who would make herbal medicinal wines and would sun-dry vegetables or, in my case, even chicken giblets. My mother prided herself also on pickling mustard greens that she would get at a bargain price when in season. In a large glass jar, she would combine the Chinese mustard greens with vinegar, sugar and hot water, then hide the jar in a cool corner behind the sofa. The greens would be perfect in three months. Occasionally, when I yearned for a snack, I would sneak a bite. The sour shock would jolt my palate, a taste I can remember to this day. Her favourite method was to combine the pickled greens with beef in a simple stir-fry. Fortunately, one does not have to wait three months to experience this dish. You can easily buy freshly pickled mustard greens at Chinese grocers, either in a vacuum pack (the preferred form) or canned.
Cut the steak in half lengthways, then cut into thin slices 5 cm (
Rinse the mustard greens well under cold running water. Drain thoroughly and slice them.
Heat a wok or deep pan until it is very hot. Pour in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and smoking, add the beef and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and drain off all but
Reheat the wok and oil, add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the sliced mustard greens and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock, the dark soy sauce and remaining light soy sauce, the remaining rice wine and the sugar and bring to the boil over a high heat. Mix well, then return the beef to the wok and continue to cook for another minute.
Transfer the contents of the wok to a large platter and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.