Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Vegetarian Stew Pork Bun (Kong Bak Bao)

Finally, I experimented with Monkey Head Mushroom, they look so lovely and nice to smell too. Special thanks to Veganic for the instructions on how to prepare the monkey head mushroom. He recommends that the mushroom to be soaked in water for 2 hours, then squeeze out the water and put in fresh water, let it absorb the fresh water and squeeze dry before cooking. Blanch the pre-soaked mushroom for a minute or 2 in boiling water to clean it.

Well, I skip the last step, too impatient of me! I used the monkey head mushroom to cook Stew Pork Bun Vegetarian version -五 香 扣 肉包. My first try was much simpler, no marinating and I didn’t simmer the spices plus I added too much sugar. So, I did another round and this was how I spent my whole day yesterday, playing with 200g of monkey head mushroom to get the recipe below.

Hmmm… it is not perfect yet, I should have added vegetarian oyster sauce and maybe I should have marinated the mushroom with Chinese five spice powder too. And I should use corn flour to thicken the sauce (I ran out of corn/tapioca flour and vegetarian oyster sauce, my manual Reorder Point System 2008 didn’t work!).

At the end of the day, I came to a conclusion!
Don’t ever try to make Vegetarian Stew Pork Bun again – its just too much work and time consuming. Just go dine at The Whole Earth Vegetarian Restaurant , their Kong Bak Bao is awesome and wholesome. The good quality winter mushroom used in that dish resembles the fatty layer of the pork belly meat. Perfect and delectable!

Preparation: 30 mins, plus 3 hours standing times
Cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients (serves 4)
° 100g monkey-head mushrooms
° 2 star anise
° 1 cinnamon stick
° 2 slices ginger
° oil, for deep-frying
° 8-12 lettuce leaves
° 8-12 leaf buns

° 2 pieces red fermented bean curd (2cm x 2cm cube), mashed with 1 tablespoon water

° 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
° 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
° 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
° 375ml water
° ½ teaspoon granulated mushroom bouillon
° 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
° 1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Soak the monkey head mushroom in a big bowl of water for 1½ -2 hours.
2. Squeeze out the water from the monkey head mushroom and soak in fresh water till it absorbs and plump up. Remove and squeeze out all the water. Repeat this for one more round.
3. Cut the mushroom into slices and marinade with the fermented bean curd for ½ hours.
4. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Drop the marinade monkey head mushroom and fry in batches until lightly golden brown. Remove the monkey head mushroom with a slotted spoon. Drain well on kitchen paper and set aside.
5. Mix all the seasoning ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir-fry the ginger, star anise and cinnamon for 1 minute. Throw in the seasoning, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes till the spices release its aroma.
7. Add in the deep-fried monkey head monkey and cook till it absorbs all the sauce. Alternatively, thicken with corn flour.
8. Transfer to a serving dish and serve lettuce leaves and leaf buns.


Sunny said...

Haha, so monkey head mushroom is not easy to prepare hor:P
btw, you cld try this " 3 layer meat "


I recommend the " Sweet and Sour Pork Buns " at YiXin.

I think they tasted better than the real stuff....


Anonymous said...

Wow! so nice!!!
ah, i didn't even know that The Whole Earth has Kong Bak Bao... do we need to order in advance?

a veg*n @ Blog*Spot said...

Thanks Sunny, will try it. The 80cents buns look good. Must note down, if not, i will forget what to eat when in Chinatown.

Actually, the soaking and squeeze out the water from it is quite a fun process, it looks like sponge but lots of work lor.

As it does not have any taste, marinating and deep-fried is required I guess which is time consuming. If I ever going to touch monkey head mushroom again, most likely I will experiment by cooking in curry.

As for the Lingzhi Stir-fried monkey head mushrooms with dried chilli, I guess I shall dine at Lingzhi! just too much work to do at home and sap all my energy.

Cheers :)

a veg*n @ Blog*Spot said...

Veggie Bun, Yes, they have. For 3 times that I order, there was 1 time I didn't get it (no stock), so Hmm... better to call to check first.

I order take away, put in the refrigerator, it tastes even better, after it soak up the sauce and I can enjoy slowly.

Veggiebuns, the hotel question! Yes very comfortable, bathroom passed too, during my stay there. Didn't even need to boil any drinking water, just press will do!

I only got a picture of one of the 3 hotels, that was a bit special - 1 bedroom, 1 living Rm, 1kitchen @ Ski Resort. Let you know, once I posted.

Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

it's so tempting to eat monkey head again... but the thought of where it comes from stopped me... see when i finally give in to temptation.. haha..

a veg*n @ Blog*Spot said...

Veggie Bun,

If it is for meat, I would strongly say NOooo.... DON'T GIVE IN TO THE TEMPTATION ..... :p

But for Monkey Head Mushroom, you can allow 1 or 2 pieces of it (if you are worry about the source), since it isn't a daily affairs ... shouldn't have any harm, i guess :p

Anyway, the important thing is, you need to feel comfortable about it.

Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

hehe.. i mean the monkey head mushrooms lah... but every night when my hb and I watch those food shows on cable tv, we do always said OK we go to eat "this and that" tomorrow... but of course we do not! hahaha..

Anonymous said...

It will be good if someone, maybe the Vegetarian society can raise funds to shoot a series of vegetarian foodhunt variety shows to let people know where are the nice vegetarian food. The power of Media is incredible...

a veg*n @ Blog*Spot said...

Hi Anonymous,

It would be good such comments send to VSS, their website: www.vegetarian-society.org

Cheers :)

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