I’m now 38 weeks pregnant and both my mother and grandmother arrived in Edinburgh this last Wednesday. It’s a huge relief for me as they’ve both come to Edinburgh partly to do some sight seeing (they’ve never been to Europe before) but most importantly to give me support during and after I give birth to Millie.
In my culture, one’s mother or mother-in-law will cook lots of Chinese medicine and some dishes that we believe can enrich one self and are good for helping women recover from giving birth. We call this tradition [做月子] (in Pingyin: Zuo Yue Zi). Yue Zi means “month of time” which starts from the time you give birth.
During this month the mother/mother-in-law will cook loads of food for the daughter who has given birth to help them recover. They will also help with cleaning one’s home and everything else that needs to be done. This isn’t an excuse for the new mother’s husband to take it easy / go down the pub (or whatever he does) but any additional support is good).
Today’s recipe contains one of my favourite foods on the planet; New Year Pork. In Taipei there is a shop that opens for just one month every year and they only cured pork. New Year Pork is the Taiwanese/Chinese equivalent of Pancetta and one of our traditional ways of preparing New Year Pork is to steam cook it with rice. This allows the juices that come out of the pork to be soaked up by the rice, making everything super delicious.
The other way I like to cook New Year Pork is as an ingredient for fried rice. This is my recipe for New Year Pork Fried Rice, which incidentally Chris said is the tastiest fried rice he’s ever eaten, which I hope you like.
For me to explain the taste of Chinese/Taiwanese New Year Pork is quite difficult as it’s something I’ve literally forever but Chris described it as “much stronger than bacon/pancetta/parma etc. New Year Pork has a really strong smoked flavour and in the case of the sausages some of them are really spicy”. As a note about the sausages below there are three kinds of sausages. One is just a pork sausage with a strong Chinese alcohol flavour. Another sausage is really hot and spicy (makes your nose run!) while the last kind is a pork and tofu sausage.
3 small bowls of cold rice (for the purpose of this recipe the bowls are rice bowl size, approx 9cm in diameter)
1 bowl of peas
3 small carrots, finely diced
2 spring onions, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
3 large eggs
200g of New Year Pork cut into small dices
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of white pepper powder
- Boil a pot of water to cook the carrots and peas separately (due to the carrots taking longer to cook). Refresh each in cold water after they have cooked.
- Beat the eggs with one teaspoon of soy sauce and half a teaspoon of sugar. Heat up the wok with a little bit of oil to first of all scramble the eggs. Leave the eggs aside for later.
- Heat up a little bit of oil in a wok and add the New Year Pork to fry it for 3-5 minutes, or until the pork is cooked. Add the rice into the wok and stir fry both evenly until cooked. Make sure as with all fried rice dishes there are no lumps in the rice.
- Add the eggs, spring onions, garlic and the vegetables into the fried rice and stir fry evenly until cooked. Add the seasonings, mix evenly and taste the fried rice. Note I didn’t use a lot of soy sauce or salt as the New Year Pork can have a really strong taste which can sometimes be quite salty.
- Note: If you can’t find New Year Pork in your local Chinese supermarket (only a Chinese supermarket will sell this) you can use as alternative; pancetta or bacon lardons. They won’t be as strong but has the same principle.
The first row of sausages are “pork and tofu”. The second “hot and spicy pork”. The third is “pork and alcohol”.