Mao Xue Wang

Mao Xue Wang

Literally ‘fur blood extravaganza’, this is a dish for demons –
blood curd, entrails, eel and other delectable fare swirl in
a simmering broth laced with chillies and Sichuan peppercorns.

Origins
Many years ago, in the town of Ciqikou in Chongqing, a woman invented a stew to help her father-in-law, a butcher, make the best of the offal from the day’s slaughter. She boiled up a cauldron of broth using a pig’s head and bones and some peas, then added offal, spices and, on a whim, blood curd. The last, she discovered, became tender and tofu-like with prolonged cooking. The resulting stew was so delicious, it became a hit.

You’ll need
3 tbs oil
1½ tbs Sichuan peppercorns
2 tbs crushed dried chillies
20 cumin seeds
1 Chinese star anise
8 tbs peeled and grated garlic
50g (2oz) Sichuan broadbean-
chilli paste
3 cups (750mL) pork or
chicken stock, plus extra if
needed
4 slices of fresh ginger
150g (5oz) leek, cut into 3cm
(1¼in) pieces
200g (7oz) honeycomb beef
tripe, cut into 1½cm (½in)
slices
250g (9oz) blood curd, cut
into 1cm (⅓in) slices
1 yellow eel or any white fish,
meat only, cut into 1½cm
(½in) slices
300g (11oz) bean sprouts
2 handfuls of soaked black
fungus
1 tbs Chinese yellow wine
1 tbs light soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese black vinegar
Salt to taste
Handful of fresh coriander
(cilantro) leaves, roughly
chopped

Cooking Method
1 Heat the oil to a pan, then add the Sichuan peppercorns, crushed dried chillies, cumin seeds and Chinese star anise and fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
2 Add the grated garlic and Sichuan broadbean- chilli paste and saute for another few seconds.
3 Pour the stock into the pan. Throw in the ginger, leek, tripe and blood curd. Bring to a boil then let it simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes. Check the level of the stock every 15 minutes and make sure none of the ingredients are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more stock if necessary.
4 Add the eel, bean sprouts, black fungus, wine, soy sauce and vinegar and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
5 Taste and add salt if necessary.
6 Sprinkle on the coriander and serve.

Tasting notes
Mao xue wang is one of the hottest dishes in China’s hottest cuisine. First up, you’ll surprise your palate by the fast heat and fruitiness of the dried red peppers and the slow tonguenumbing quality (ma-la in Putonghua) of the Sichuan peppercorns, which lends depth to the heat. Venture further and a feast of textures awaits – silky (blood curd), chewy (heart), gelatinous (sea cucumber), firm (eel), crunchy (black fungus, bean sprouts), rubbery (cuttlefish), stringy (tripe), spongy (cooked tofu)… You’ll find the mild flavours of the ingredients offer some respite from the heat, cooling your lips and tongue just enough that they can wrap themselves around the next titillating piece.

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