Pork with Cloud Ear Mushrooms
- SERVINGS: 4
Eileen Yin-Fei Lo teaches Chinese cooking at the China Institute in New York City and writes extensively on Chinese cuisine. This dish reminds her of her childhood in Canton, where her mother gathered cloud ear mushrooms and lily buds from the family garden.
- 3/4 pound boneless pork loin, sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
- 1/2 ounce small dried cloud ear mushrooms (about 1/2 cup, see Note)
- 1/2 ounce dried lily buds (about 50, see Note)
- 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry (see Note)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce (see Note)
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 6 cups boiling water
- 8 fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
- Steamed white rice, preferably jasmine, for serving
- Cut the sliced pork into 2-by-1-inch strips. Soak the cloud ears and lily buds separately in hot water until softened, about 20 minutes. Rinse the cloud ears in fresh water and drain well. Rinse the lily buds in fresh water, drain well and cut off the tough ends; cut each bud in half.
- Mash the ginger through a fine-mesh strainer or garlic press. Set aside 1 teaspoon ginger juice.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pork, cloud ears, lily buds, ginger juice, Shao-Hsing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, peanut oil, dissolved cornstarch, sesame oil, sugar, salt and a pinch of white pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the pork mixture to an 8-inch cake pan and set the pan in a bamboo steamer. Pour the boiling water into a large wok. Place the bamboo steamer in the wok. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring halfway through, until the pork is no longer pink, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer the pork to a serving platter, garnish with the cilantro and serve with steamed white rice.
The mildness of pork allows it to pair with either substantial whites or light reds, but the soy, ginger and oyster sauce in this recipe suggest a full-bodied white with enough ripe, fruity flavors to balance the savory elements of the dish. The hints of melon and vanilla in an oak-aged California Chardonnay would be ideal.