Small mung beans provide these sprouts. In Hong Kong, markets sell fresh bean sprouts plucked or trimmed at both ends. In that form they have a clean, fresh look and are ready to use, but the trimming process takes some time. They are a very nutritious addition to salads and stir-fried dishes, their mild flavour and crunchiness providing a delightful touch to every meal. When they are stir-fried with beancurd and other ingredients, as here, their colour appears as a shimmering silver, hence the name of this recipe.
Try to obtain pressed seasoned beancurd. It is cooked in a soy-flavoured sauce which also imparts a pleasant brownish colour to it. If unavailable, you may substitute fresh firm beancurd, but you must weight it down with a heavy lid for at least 2 hours to make it even firmer and less moist. It will also have less flavour, so remember to increase your seasonings. Pan-fry the beancurd until it is firm before stir-frying, otherwise it may fall apart; this will affect the appearance but not the taste.
Soak the mushrooms in a large bowl of warm water for 20 minutes. Drain them and squeeze out any excess liquid. Discard the tough stalks, finely shred the caps and put them aside.
Trim the bean sprouts. Cut the pressed beancurd, celery, peppers, carrots and spring onions into fine shreds.
Heat a wok or large frying-pan over moderate heat and add the oils. Put in the salt, pepper and carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the celery, mushrooms, beancurd, peppers and spring onions and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice wine and water and stir-fry until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn onto a plate and serve.
© 1995 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.