One of the best vegetarian dishes I have eaten anywhere was prepared in the kitchen of my own family in Kaiping (Hoiping). It’s a brilliant combination of authentically Cantonese tastes and textures. The long beans were fresh from the fields, crisp and extremely sweet, the silk squash had a soft, spongy texture and earthy flavour which was a nice contrast to its coarse skin. The cloud ears had a soft but elastic texture and subtle flavour. Quickly stir-fried with the other ingredients they made this a unique dish, good as a vegetarian main course or in combination with a meat dish.
Soak the cloud ear fungus in warm water for at least 15 minutes. Rinse them several times in cold running water to remove any sand. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
If you are using Chinese long beans, trim the ends and cut them into
Peel off the tough outer skin of the silk squash, or top and tail the courgettes. Cut the vegetable at a slight diagonal into
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot and add the oil. Put in the shallots, garlic, ginger, cloud ears, and beans. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the silk squash or courgettes, oyster sauce, rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, salt, sugar, and chicken stock. Cook over high heat, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve at once.
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