Zha Cai – Sichuan Preserved Vegetables
Cloud Ear Fungus or Wood Ear Fungus
Cloud Ear Fungus
Compare to wood ear fungus, they are a lot smaller, black color with slight brownish and the other side very light grey. Texture-wise is more towards crunchy with a slight chewiness.
Wood Ear Fungus
These are much bigger than cloud ear fungus, comes in black color with the underside grey in color. Texture-wise they are more towards chewy with slight crunchiness.
“Zha Cai” is a Cantonese dialect for Sichuan Preserved Vegetable, this dish still remains well in my memory as it was one of the dish created by my mother when my parent’s restaurant was still in business – Sichuan Preserved Vegetable & Cloud Ear Fungus. It was served steamed back then instead of braising it. I personally prefer it to be braised as braising gives a much more concentrated flavor. Though “Zha Cai” originated from Sichuan, and “Zha Cai” is widely used throughout China in many Chinese Cuisine. My mother says this chicken dish comes from Shunde and here it is – recipe from my mum!
Chinese Chicken Recipe with Sichuan Preserved Vegetable & Cloud Ear Fungus
- 2 件 Whole Chicken Leg
- 100 克 Sichuan Preserved Vegetables (Zha Cai) (1 packet)
- 50 克 Dried Cloud Ear Fungus
- 50 克 姜 (chopped)
- 5 件 Red Dates
- 3 汤匙 食用油
- 500 ml 水
- 2 汤匙 Oyster Sauce
- 1 汤匙 Fish Sauce
- 1 茶匙 Thick Soy Sauce (for darker color)
- Clean chopped chicken and put aside.
- Soak dried cloud ear fungus in water for 15 minutes or until softened. Cut off any hard parts, soak in water, and put aside.
- Clean and peel ginger. Then finely chop ginger and put aside.
- Use a knife or scissors and to open the Red Dates and remove the seed.
- Prepare the other ingredients.
- Preheat pan/wok with cooking oil.
- Add chopped ginger and fry to golden.
- Add chopped chicken and briefly saute.
- Add water.
- Add Sichuan Preserved Vegetable, Soaked Cloud Ear Fungus, Red Dates, Oyster Sauce, Thick Soy Sauce, and Fish Sauce.
- Bring to a boil and keep covered.
- Braised for approximately 10 分钟 or until thickens.
- Remove from heat and serve.