This dish, often referred to as simply “Hakka Stir-Fry” or “Ke Jia Xiao Chao” in Taiwan, is similar to Chinese double-cooked pork belly stir-fries but features an ingredient that is typical of Hakka cuisine: dried seafood. (The Hakka is a unique cultural group from China whose diaspora can be found all over the world.) Dried, then reconstituted, squid is traditionally added to this dish, adding a punch of umami, but because it can be difficult to source outside an Asian grocery, I’ve substituted it with fresh squid many times. In total, the dish is a colorful and crowded family of flavors.
- Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in the pork belly and cook until very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice thinly into pieces no thicker than ¼ inch.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until sizzling-hot and fragrant, about 10 seconds. Stir in the pork belly and toss briskly for about 1 minute. Stir in the squid, celery, and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add the soy sauce and chili bean sauce and stir to coat evenly. Cook until the squid is completely opaque, about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions. Serve immediately.
Excerpted from THE FOOD OF TAIWAN © 2015 by Cathy Erway. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Cathy Erway is the author of the cookbook The Food of Taiwan and the memoir The Art of Eating In. She hosts the podcasts Self Evident, exploring Asian American stories, and Eat Your Words on Heritage Radio Network, and blogs at Not Eating Out in New York.