Sai choy is one special dish for Chinese New Year. It does have many different names for it. We always have this dish on Chinese New Year. Grandma used to be the one preparing this dish for us in Malaysia. My grandma makes her with a lot of ingredients. Some ingredients I cannot find here or not sold near me.
The main of this dish is white cabbage. And I love it when the cabbage is braised till it’s soft and the gravy is sweetened with fermented beancurd and sauces. Also, cabbage cooked well actually soaks up the fragrance of the fermented beans and garlic too. There are also other different textures and flavours with a whole range of ingredients like wood ear fungus, dried mushrooms, glass noodle, black fungus and canned mushrooms.
I change the recipe as I couldn’t find the red fermented beancurd, beancurd skin, beancurd stick and dried lily flower. I have use white fermented beancurd. Presentation wise it’s not colourful and red colour, but it actually tastes even better after all the ingredients have had a chance to soak in the fermented beancurd and sauces. Serve it with rice, a must have for me cut red chilies soaked in soy sauce and char chee yoke (Braised pork belly) for a delicious and comforting meal. Let’s cook!!!
8 shiitake dried mushrooms, soak overnight, cut bite size, reserved water
100 g glass noodles
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
3-5 thinly slice ginger (OPT)
700 g napa cabbage, cut into bite size
60 g dried sliced black fungus, soak overnight
8 pieces dried wood ear fungus, soak overnight, cut, reserved water
1 canned straw mushrooms, about 425 g, drained water, cut in half
1 canned whole mushrooms about 425 g, drained water, cut in half
4 white fermented cubed beancurd
2 Tbs Shaoxing Chinese wine
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs oyster sauce
2 Tsp sesame oil
2/3 c water reserved from mushroom
1/4 c water reserved from wood ear fungus
extra water if needed
Heat oil in wok on medium heat, add oil and ginger. Let the ginger caramelize for about 30 seconds without letting it burn. Next add in white fermented beancurd and break it up with wooden spoon. Add the garlic, shiitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, black sliced fungus and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, to get mushroom and fungus coated in fermented beancurd sauce.
Add the Shaoxing wine, 2/3 c reserved from mushroom and wood ear fungus water and bring to boil. Next, add cabbage, cook till softened for 4-5 minutes. Make sure it’s softened. Add other cut mushrooms, sesame oil, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Toss to mix well, cover the wok, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If water runs dry, add more water about 1/2 cup. Let vegetables simmer for further 10 minutes. Before serving, soak glass vermicelli until softened, and mix into pot. Glass vermicelli absorbs liquid quickly, so if you add the noodles too early, they will bloat and there will be too little sauce left. Keep stirring. If you want to have extra sauce add another 1/2 cup of water. Spoon sai choy onto serving plate, garnish with cut chili and soy sauce and serve with char chee yoke. Enjoy with a glass of white wine!!!!
Note: You can add beancurd skin, beancurd sticks or lily flower. Or you can add carrots, baby sweet corns and snap peas like my friends did in their sai choy. You might want it more liquid, so add more stock or water. I didn’t add extra. You can omit cut chili and soy sauce. You can put fried shallots, red dates, gingko or fried tofu. Or create your own flavour ingredients. You can use any green leaves vegetables, or box ready stock or cube packet stocks.