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Wood Ear Mushrooms with Pork and Ginger: A Recipe from Dragon’s Backbone

I hang out in a lot of kitchen doorways in China, watching techniques and gleaning cooking secrets, and generally trying to stay a safe distance from the cleavers and boiling cooking oil. By hanging out in the kitchen at Quanjing Lou guesthouse for a protracted period, scribbling notes and asking questions, I can now bring you this delicious recipe courtesy of Farmer Li’s chushi (chef). 
We ate it for dinner the first night on the mountain and the entire plate disappeared in 30 seconds flat, with several self-professed mushroom haters among those who wolfed it down. On the mountain they use fresh wood ear mushrooms when available, but dried mushrooms work equally well. The key is to not soak them for too long, or they absorb a lot of water and become rubbery. Finely sliced and cooked this way, they are soft and delicious.
Dragon’s Backbone Wood Ear Mushrooms with Pork and Ginger

  • 100g lean pork
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • 50g dried black wood ear mushrooms
  • small carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 green pepper, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2cm piece of ginger, finely julienned
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 2 scallions, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • finely slice pork into strips
  • combine pork with Shaoxing wine and half of cornflour/water mixture, stir to combine, set aside
  • soak dried mushrooms in cold water for 20 mins, drain, slice finely
  • half-fill wok with water, bring to the boil
  • add mushrooms, carrot and green pepper, cook for 1 minute
  • add pork strips, stirring to separate, for further 1 minute
  • drain into colander
  • heat wok again over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • add ginger, stir-fry 1 minute
  • add cooked pork and vegetables, stir
  • add salt, sugar, light soy sauce and oyster sauce, stir to combine
  • add remaining cornflour/water mixture, stir until sauce thickens slightly
  • add scallions, stir briefly
  • add sesame oil
  • serve immediately
Serves 4 as part of a shared meal, or serves 2 as a complete meal