Hed Chef: Jiu He Char
Penang jiu he char (Hokkien for cuttlefish stir-fry) is relatively uncomplicated to cook.
I learnt to cook the dish from Madam Chong Lay Wah, 60, a chef who specialises in Penang Nonya cuisine.
In Penang, jiu he char is a classic favourite.
With the bangkwang and carrot taking centre stage, I find the dish very similar to Hokkien popiah filling with the addition of dried cuttlefish and dried solefish.
For this dish, use dried cuttlefish sliced into thin strips.
Madam Chong says no oyster sauce or soy sauce is used so that the bangkwang doesn't take on any brownish hue.
She stays true to tradition, slicing up the bangkwang and carrot using a kitchen knife, claiming that this method keeps the vegetables crunchy. I took the easy way out by using a vegetable shredder.
The dish is great party food.
One more tip from Madam Chong: The dish tastes even better if it is kept overnight in the fridge.
- 100g dried cuttlefish
- 1 jicama, finely sliced or shredded
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 3 cabbage leaves, finely sliced
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
- 250g pork collar, whole
- 50g sole fish, coarsely ground
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 200ml water
- 3 tbsp oil
1 head of lettuce
1. Rinse and soak the dried cuttlefish for 15 minutes or until softened.
2. Boil water in a pot. Boil the whole piece of pork collar for 20 minutes. Remove from pot. Allow to cool and slice into strips.
3. Heat the oil in wok. Fry the sole fish for a minute until it is fragrant.
4. Add the garlic and fry for a minute until fragrant. (A)
5. Add the red onion, dried shiitake and cuttlefish. (B)
6. Add the sliced pork and pepper.
7. Add the shredded jicama, carrot and cabbage. (C)
8. Stir-fry to mix the ingredients. Fry for two minutes.
9. Add 200ml water. Stir and allow the cooking liquid to reach a simmering boil.
10. Add the sugar and salt. Continue to cook for another five minutes.
11. Serve hot. To eat, take a spoonful and wrap in a piece of lettuce leaf.