Pork-stuff Mo Qua
Makes 4 servings
Mo Qua (hair or fuzzy melon, tseet gwa) looks like a fuzzy zucchini with light green skin, but is a closer relative of the winter melon. The pale green flesh is delicious and versatile. Just peel off the tough skin, scoop out the seeds if you wish, and its ready to be put in anything from stir-fries to stews to soups. Cucumbers can be substituted in a pinch.
- 2 oz/60 g package cellophane noodles
- 2 mo qua or English cucumbers
Pork and marinade
- 1/2 lb (250 g) minced pork
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced ginger
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped cilantro
- 1 egg white, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp (7 mL) cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sesame oil
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) oyster sauce
- 1 cup (250 mL) rich pork stock or chicken stock (see below)
- 1 tsp (5 mL) hot red pepper flakes
- 4 large shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
- Minced pork: Place pork loin in freezer for about 1 to 2 hours to freeze slightly. Then slice into thin slices and chop with a heavy knife or Chinese cleaver. This will make a coarser mince then you would get from a food processor, but it's the texture Chinese cooks prefer.
- Cover cellophane noodles with hot water and soak for 10 minutes or until noodles are soft. Drain well and chop coarsely.
- Peel and cut mo qua crosswise into 1-inch / 2.5 cm slices. Scoop out some seeds and pulp from centre of each slice to form bowl.
- Combine pork and marinade ingredients with half of cellophane noodles. Spoon meat mixture into mo qua bowl and press down gently to cover slice with small, smooth mound of mixture. Dip each stuffed piece of mo qua meat-side down into remaining cellophane noodles until well coated.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add sauce ingredients. Add stuffed mo qua slices squash-side down. Cover and braise for total of 15 minutes. After first 5 minutes of cooking, uncover and spoon sauce over meat. Cover and continue cooking. Repeat basting after another 5 minutes and add mushroom slices. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Remove mo qua slices and arrange on platter. Pour sauce over and serve. If sauce is too thin, thicken after removing the mo qua, then pour over stuffed squash.
Rich Pork Stock
Makes about 15 cups / 3.75 L
Somehow pork adds richness to a stock without lending a distinctive taste. Soup bones can often be had for free or bought for a nominal price from your butcher.
- 3 lb (1.5 kg) pork knuckle, rib or back bones, chopped
- 2 lb (1 kg) chicken necks and backs, chopped in 2-inch / 5 cm chunks
- 20 cups (5 L) cold water
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 carrot, thickly sliced
- 3 large green onions, trimmed, cut in corners
- 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, thinly slicked
- 1 tsp (5 mL) white peppercorns
- Rinse chicken and pork bones thoroughly under cold running water. Add to large pot with cold water.
- Add all other ingredients. Over medium heat, bring to slow boil, skimming off the foam and fat.
- When stock starts to boil, reduce heat and keep at steady simmer for about 10 minutes. Continue skimming until surface of stock is mostly clear. Reduce heat to slow simmer, continue cooking for about 4 hours. Skim surface as necessary.
- Strain finished stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate and remove fat that solidifies on top. Freeze or refrigerate for later use.
Nutritional information per serving
- Calories: 183
- Protein: 16 g
- Fat: 4 g
- Saturated fat: 1 g
- Dietary cholesterol: 36 mg
- Carbohydrate: 22 g
- Sodium: 357 mg
- Potassium: 508 mg