Whenever I was growing up, this was one of the things we would eat with plain congee whenever we were sick. It doesn’t have any magical healing powers, I’m afraid, but we were fed this because it was deeply savoury and would make us want to eat a little bit more even when we had completely lost our appetites and couldn’t taste a thing.
The reason why I’m sharing this recipe is because it occurred to me the other day (while eating this with congee while I was sick) that I only eat this when I’m sick when it’s actually good enough to eat all the time. In fact, it’s so simple to make and so so yummy that I honestly don’t know why I don’t. Have it with plain congee or with steamed white rice and you’ll find yourself reaching for more whether or not you’re sick. You’ll see what I mean.
You most likely have everything you need in your pantry except for the fried shallots, which you can fry up ahead with fresh ones or buy a jar of them already fried, and the pickled cucumber which looks like this.
What you need:
1 lb. ground pork
1 jar pickled cucumbers (Hua Gua), chopped
1 tsp. vegetable oil
All the juice (5-6 tbsp.) from the pickled cucumbers
4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. rice wine
3 tbsp. fried shallots
1/4 tsp. white pepper
What to do:
1. Heat a little oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and saute until cooked through.
2. Add the chopped pickled cucumbers and stir to combine.
3. Add the pickled cucumber juice, sesame oil, rice wine, soy sauce, fried shallots, and white pepper. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook covered for about 15 minutes until sauce is reduced but not completely evaporated. You want there to be sauce left at the bottom to pour over your rice or congee.
4. Remove from pan and serve with plain congee or steamed white rice.