There’s only one solution when Rose Prince is struggling to get a table at a favourite Chinese restaurant — make one of the top dishes at home. Serves four.
I love a shopping challenge and nothing satisfies my curiosity more than a mooch around a Chinese supermarket — or online shop — for ingredients. The test is not to recreate a dish that is offered in any Chinese takeaway, but something more authentic. The emergence of restaurants serving regional Chinese food and dishes that are deliciously different has led me to attempt to try them at home.
Five years ago, a food critic friend insisted I eat at A Wong in London’s Victoria. My eyes were opened to the incredible variety in Chinese cooking. The chef, Andrew Wong, had toured all of China seeking out something different to serve in the restaurant originally started by his parents. When I first went, it was mainly occupied by diners who were in the know, but now he has well-deserved Michelin stars to his name and it is hard to get a table. He did, however, helpfully publish a book of his recipes, A Wong The Cookbook (Mitchell Beazley), and I have since stocked my larder with some of the essentials needed to cook his wonderful and original dishes.
This recipe is not in the book, but he serves it at the restaurant and it makes a refreshing change from the crispy duck pancakes that we all know so well. He makes the dish with pork, but wild boar gives the braised meat element an extra savoury power.
Wild Boar Moo Shu
For the braised wild boar:
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 300g minced wild boar
- 100g minced pork belly
- 2tbsp Shaoxing wine
- pinch of salt
- 50ml light soy sauce
- 25ml Chinese red vinegar, or sherry vinegar
- 1tbsp Toban Djan sauce (chilli and bean sauce)
- 25g chopped cornichons
- 10g sugar
- 200ml chicken stock
For the crispy soy bean curd:
- 4tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 dried bean curd sheets
For the ginger oil:
- 2tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1tsp green part of spring onion, finely chopped
- 1tbsp toasted sesame oil
To serve: 15 Chinese-style pancakes (3 packets), spring onions and cucumber, thinly sliced lengthways
- First, braise the wild boar. This dish needs extra fat that boar lacks, hence the addition of minced pork belly. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the minced meat. Stir-fry over a medium high heat until browned and beginning to crisp. This will take about three to five minutes.
- Add the wine, cook for a minute, then add the salt, soy sauce, vinegar, Toban Djan sauce and cornichons. Allow it to cook for another minute until the liquid has reduced, then add the sugar and the chicken stock.
- Simmer over a very low heat for about 20 minutes, partially covered. Do not let the contents of the pan dry out — a little more stock can be added if needed. Set the it, ready to reheat before serving.
- Place the steamer and lid over a pan containing about 2.5cm of boiling water. When ready to cook, put the packs of pancakes into the steamer and allow the water to boil for five minutes.
- Mix together the ingredients for the ginger oil in a small bowl. Set it aside, ready to serve at the table.
- To cook the bean curd, put the oil into a frying pan and heat. Break the bean curd sheets into postcard-sized pieces and put them into the pan. Have a spatula ready to flatten the sheets — they curl as they fry. Remove when crisp and place in a basket or bowl lined with kitchen towel.
- To serve the Moo Shu, reheat the meat. Put a sheet of the crispy bean curd on to a pancake, add some of the braised boar, a pinch of spring onion and cucumber, followed by a little dribble of the ginger oil, and then roll up and enjoy.