Hakka Stir-Fry

Hakka stir-fry, one of Hakka signature dishes “Si Chao (四炒),” was invented by Hakka women. This dish is related to offerings of worship. Hakka people usually prepare three kinds of food: chicken, pork, and dry squid for religious rituals. They only slaughter the “three sacrifices” to worship gods during important festivals. After worshipping, Hakka women slice pork and pre-soaked squid, add homegrown green onions and some soy sauce, and stir-fry the mixtures. Then the mouthwatering dish is ready to be served.

Hakka Stir-Fry

Hakka stir-fry is the down-to-earth home cooking, so it is a common dish at every Hakka restaurant in Taiwan. The Hakkas in southern Taiwan call the dish “squid stir-fry,” which mainly features the squid with a minimum of sliced pork and some garlic shoots. By contrast, northern Taiwan Hakkas call it “pork stir-fry,” in which celery is added instead of garlic shoots.

Salty, fragrant, and greasy are the three characteristics of Hakka stir-fry, because most of the Hakkas in the early agricultural era had to do farm labor, and the dish increased their appetite and supplemented their nutrition and the salt they needed after working hard in the fields.

However, Hakka stir-fry has become less salty and oily and had its variations over the years. Dried bean curd, red chilies, basil, and dried shrimp diversify the flavor of the dish. Influenced by the eating habits of Hoklo Taiwanese, sometimes sugar is even added in Hakka stir-fry.

Hakka Stir-Fry (recipe)

Ingredients needed:

350 grams of pork belly, 1/2 of a dried squid, 5 slices of dried bean curd, 4 stalks of celery, 2 stalks of green onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 chili pepper, 1 piece of shallot, 1 tablespoon of thick soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice wine, a little white granulated sugar, water (not too much), a little white pepper

Cooking method:

First, cut the dried squid into small strips with scissors in the reverse direction of the squid’s patterns and soak it in cold water for about 30 minutes until it is ready for use. Next, boil the pork belly for a short time to cleanse it and then cut it into small strips, about 1 cm wide. Cut the dried bean curd into strips of the same shape as the pork belly, slice the garlic and pepper, and cut the celery, shallots and garlic into small pieces for later use.

Heat the wok, first put the pork in the wok and cook it in medium fire until it’s fragrant (until it’s oily and the surface is slightly colored). Then add the dried bean curd, garlic, pepper, and squid and stir fry everything together. Then add all the seasonings and stir-fry the mixture until it looks slightly burnt. Finally, add the green onion, celery, and garlic to be evenly sautéed. Put the lid on the wok and cook it just briefly before serving it.