ホームシック治療法の中華 Chinese Food for a Homesick Heart

Since I moved to Kagawa four years ago, I haven’t been back to Canada once, not even for a visit! For the first couple of years, my parents came to visit me in Japan once or twice a year, but due to the coronavirus, we haven’t been able to see each other for quite some time now. I love living in Japan, but every once in a while I get a little homesick for Canada. When I’m feeling homesick, eating comfort food always makes me feel better. Today’s comfort food is . . . Chinese-style pork stir fry with garlic scapes and fried rice!

Because there are so many great Chinese restaurants and grocery stores in Vancouver, whenever I eat Chinese food it always brings back memories of home. I found a few garlic scapes when I was looking through the fridge today for ingredients, which reminded me of a pork and garlic scape stir fry recipe that I’ve been wanting to try.    

First, I put a little salt and cooking oil into boiling water, then added the garlic scapes and cooked them for about 2 minutes. After draining the garlic scapes, I set them aside to cool. 

Next I sliced 200 grams of pork into thin strips, and seasoned it with 1/3 teaspoon of salt, a little white pepper, 1 tablespoon each of Shaoxing wine and water, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with water, and 1 tablespoon of oil. I cut 1/4 of a Japanese leek and 10 grams of ginger into thin slices, and measured 1 1/2 teaspoons of dobanjan chili bean paste. 

I heated 2 tablespoons of oil, added the pork and pan fried it until the meat changed color, then removed the pork from the pan. Next I added another 2 tablespoons of oil and fried the Japanese leek and ginger over low heat until fragrant. Then I added the dobanjan chili bean paste and gave it a stir.

Next, I turned up the heat, added the garlic scapes and pork, and quickly stirred to mix. Then I added the seasonings: 1 teaspoon of sugar, a little white pepper, 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine, 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce, half a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water, and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock. After a few quick stirs to thicken the sauce, it was ready to eat!

For today’s fried rice, I chose a recipe that is a little different from what I used to eat in Canada. This fried rice is flavored with salted salmon and daikon radish pickle! I grilled two fillets of lightly salted salmon until they turned a nice toasty color. 

After breaking up the salmon into flakes, I diced up 80 grams of daikon pickle, sliced one bunch of green onions, measured out 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, and mixed 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of sake for the seasoning. I also prepared 4 servings of cooked rice. 

The recipe called for 4 tablespoons of oil, but I thought that was a little too much, so I only used 2 1/2 tablespoons. I started by frying the salmon flakes and daikon pickle. 

Then I added 4 servings of freshly cooked rice and the green onion slices, stirring until the ingredients were well mixed. Then I turned up the heat slightly, and added the soy sauce, sake and some white pepper, and continued frying. At the end, I sprinkled on 2 pinches of salt to balance the flavor. 

This is just the comfort food I was craving! The sweet flavor of the daikon pickle tasted great with the salty flavor of the salmon flakes in the fried rice, and the pork and garlic scapes were well coated with thick and spicy sauce. It might not be the most authentic Chinese food, but it definitely helped to sooth my homesick heart!


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