by Grace Young
This recipe could not have come at a better time. I have been lacking in the vegetable department lately. Felt good to get something healthy in the belly.
I have to say this has been the most challenging recipe from the book for me, in terms of unfamiliarity with ingredients.
The recipe consists of cloud ear mushrooms, lotus root, Chinese bacon, chicken broth, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut oil, ginger, snow peas, carrots, salt, white pepper and scallions.
Trying to find the cloud ear mushrooms was most difficult, and I don't think I ever got the right ones. Grace says they are thin and delicate, and when pressed between your fingers, they will crumble like a potato chip. I'm pretty sure what I purchased (twice) are wood ear mushrooms, which are thicker and tougher. I even brought in a picture that a fellow blogger posted to the WW Facebook page to show to the sales clerk what I was looking for, and she assured me they were the same, although I have my doubts - for the mushrooms were not as delicate as Grace mentioned.
I have seen this in stores, but have never cooked with it before now. It is crunchy, much like jicama, but it is starchy like a potato - it will start to discolor when the flesh is exposed to air. I love the lacy look after slicing.
When using in a stir-fry, make sure it is dry as possible! I received my first splatter burn (Ouch! This after a whole year of wokking) due to my lotus root not being dry enough.
Did you know that this vegetable is actually the rhizome of the beautiful lotus flower?
The Chinese bacon has a hard rind on one edge that needs to be removed; and Grace likes to remove the fat as well. I had two strips of bacon, the second mostly all fat. There would not have been anything left to cook after removing the fat. Good thing one strip was enough.
The bacon lends a chewy texture to compliment the crunchiness of the snow peas, carrots, and lotus root.
The recipe calls for the ginger to be sliced (about the size of a quarter) and smashed - which I did. However, I have decided that I would prefer minced ginger, for I like a stronger ginger essence than the smashed ginger gives.
This has to be one of the most beautiful stir-fries we have made to date.
The book says this will serve four as a side dish. We had this as our main course served alongside some brown rice. This made for a healthy dinner, and there was even extra for Andy's lunch the next day.
We are asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 193 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.