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Stewed Pork Belly With Preserved Vegetables

The "suan cai (酸菜)," "fu cai (福菜)," and "mei gan cai (梅乾菜)," utilized in Hakka meals are actually all made with the very same vegetable-- mustard greens! Mustard greens are a common veggie of the cabbage household in Taiwan, and in the Hakka language, they are called "tai coi (大菜)". According to the Hakka customized, mustard greens are normally served for Lunar New Year's dinner. In Hakka locations outside southern Taiwan, mustard greens are likewise referred to as "chang nian cai (長年菜)," which actually implies "long year veggie" in Mandarin. Because the leaves of mustard are long and large, they normally signify longevity.

The economical Hakkas in Taiwan, due to their migration history and their hard living environment in the past, have actually established a pickled food culture, such as pickling to preserve perishable veggies and mixing pickled vegetables with meat. After the mustard greens harvest, people use the standard pickling technique to make three different kinds of Hakka marinaded veggies according to different extent of fermentation, sun drying, and air drying. Here are guidelines on how you can make the veggies

1. Suan cai, or pickled vegetables

The fresh mustard greens of the whole plant are softened after one to 3 days of direct exposure in the sun. They are laid out in alternating layers of veggies and salt, and stone is put on the top layer to push the water out of the veggies. It is then finally sealed. After about one to two weeks of pickling, the vegetables continue to lose water due to the function of the salt, and are fermented in the broth, producing a sour taste, and becoming Hakka sauerkraut.

2. Fu cai, or preserved vegetables.

To make fu cai, put the prepared Hakka sauerkraut in the sun and air dry it. Before the vegetables are totally diminished of water, tear them into strips and stuff them into a bottle, then invert it, let the water drain, and finally seal it and let it stand upright. After about 4 to 6 months of fermentation, you will make a meal that is much more flavored than Hakka pickled veggies. Given that the container is turned throughout the production process, and this is called "fu" (suggesting overturn/upside down) in the Hakka language, the dish is called "fu cai," but a various "fu" is normally utilized, the advantageous homophonic "fu" character which means happiness or fortunate. (Note: fu cai is not as sour as suan cai, however is more flavored, with remaining beauty.)

3. Mei gan cai (in the Hakka language, it is called dried pickled vegetables).

This sort of pickled vegetable is made by taking the fu cai midway through the fermentation procedure, when it has actually been sun-dried and air-dried, but prior to it has actually been sealed in the urn, and putting it through more sun-drying and air-drying until there is almost no water in it, and then bundling it into a bunch. This makes the veggie more aromatic with an unique taste and makes it more resilient as a "maintained dried veggies." Taiwanese conventional Hakka villages describe these veggies as "salted dry vegetables," and since the salted and dried mustard greens tastes sweet, sour and tasty, lots of people associate them with dried "plums." That is why "mei gan cai" means "plum dried vegetables" in Mandarin, however actually the veggies do not have any dried plums or plum flavor. In spite of this, they can work up one's cravings like plums can.

With a bunch of mustard greens, a handful of salt, and an amount of time, Hakka people have actually produced the cultural knowledge and unique taste from the difficulty in the past.

Stewed pork belly with preserved vegetables


Pork 100g

Mei gan cai 50g

Garlic cloves 10g

Soy sauce 10g

Rock sugar 10g

Shaoxing wine 10g

Cooking method:

  1. Soak mei gan cai in water for half hour, and then wash them.
  2. After the pork is dipped into the soy sauce and fried, add the seasonings of soy sauce, rock sugar, and Shaoxing wine and simmer until the meat is soft and easy to pick up.
  3. Boil the mei gan cai for 30 minutes and take them out of the pot. Then pour the vegetables into the pan of cooked pork, roll them together and put into the steamer and steam for 30 minutes, then remove the tray.