Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Single Guy’s New Year’s Jai, Part II

Copyright 2008 by Cooking With The Single Guy

(Much of the description and prepping of these ingredients were described in the first part of this post that you can find here.)

1 2.5-oz bag black fungus
2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms (stem removed, cut into halves)
2 cups fried tofu
2 cups (about three bunches) long rice or mung bean threads
1 cup golden lily buds
1 cup fresh water chestnuts, peeled (you can replace with one small can of sliced water chestnuts)
½ sheet of black moss (fat choy)
½ cup unroasted, dried peanuts
¼ lb. dried oysters (ho see)
4-5 sticks of foo jook (bean curd sticks)
2 cups Napa cabbage (won bok), chopped
2 T fermented bean curd (about three cubes)
2 T fermented red bean curd (about three cubes)
2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
oyster sauce to taste
2 T Canola oil

For most of the dried ingredients, you’ll need to soak them for at least 15 minutes. Follow prep recommendations noted here.

In a large pot, warm oil over medium high heat then add the cubes of regular and red bean curds. (These are the ones you bought in the jars; don’t confuse with the bean curd sticks.) Use a wooden spoon to smash up the bean curd cubes into a paste, then start adding in the tougher ingredients that needs the most time to cook, including black fungus, peanuts, water chestnuts and dried lily buds. Add a cup of broth and let simmer covered for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add shiitake mushrooms, black moss, dried oysters (that you’ve rehydrated) and fried tofu. Let everything simmer for another 10 minutes. Add chicken bouillon cube at this time if you want. If your jai looks like it’s running low on broth, add remaining chicken broth or more water. Never let your jai dry out or it’ll burn.

Blanch your Napa cabbage by placing in small pot of salted boiling water for a minute and then removing and placing in a bowl of ice water. Let drain.

When your jai is 10 minutes away from cooking (depending on your ingredients, the total cooking time should be around 30 minutes), then add Napa cabbage, long rice and bean curd sticks (make sure the sticks are rehydrated and soft). Add oyster sauce to taste (you may need to add a lot since you have a big pot). If you want to, you can also add a few more cubes of the fermented bean curds to add more of that flavor. Let everything simmer to blend all the flavors and then serve with steamed rice.

Makes 6 servings.

TIP: If you make a lot of jai and don’t want to eat it all for the next few days, you can freeze some easily. But if you do, make your jai without the Napa cabbage and then freeze those portions. When you bring it out of the freezer, then add the Napa cabbage to make sure you always have a fresh vegetable.

WATCH THE POT: You let your jai stew away on the stove top, but it can dry out fast as all the ingredients absorb the broth. So stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot and add more broth or water as needed to maintain a simmer.


Anonymous said...

Well, it's that time of year again and I stumbled upon your post. Your recipe looks like how my MIL's recipe turns out in the end, except we never used peanuts or ma tai. My MIL often used flat toufu skins and gave them a quick deep fry just until they blistered - crimping them with tongs as they softened when they hit the oil - then drained them thoroughly on brown paper. a portion of this was always included in the offerings for bai sun on new Year's Eve.

GiveAloha said...

Love your recipe. Your jai flavor is almost exactly the same as the recipe used by my mother. I didn't have a written recipe from her and have tried several other recipes I found online. The other recipes were either too bland or too sweet. I don't use peanuts but instead use ginko nuts. The ginko nuts are sweet and soak up the flavor of the stock in the pot.I made your recipe last year and got raving reviews from the family and plan to make it again today for Chinese New Years. Thank you for sharing your recipe.