I love potatoes, whether they are baked, fried, boiled, steamed, stewed or grilled - all are my favourite! This particular dish is one that my mom prepares often - it's a very quick and easy potato stew with minced pork that can be made in less than 30 minutes. When I was younger, I would drizzle the salty and slightly starchy dark sauce over my rice or porridge, pile on the potatoes and minced pork and ate it all up with gusto - double the carbohydrates, double the comfort!
As I grow older, I left out the rice and eat it on its own as I'm watching my weight. And now that I'm thousands of miles away from my mom, I have to make this comfort food by myself, which I guess it's a good thing, otherwise this recipe won't appear on the blog so soon heh.
My mom prefers using waxy potatoes instead of starchy ones because of its texture and its ability to hold its shape and stay firm after the frying and stewing. I've tried with both waxy and starchy ones and found that starchy potatoes indeed tend to break apart easily towards the end (especially if I'm too violent with the stew). But other than that, I felt that both types of potatoes taste equally good, so I guess it's a matter of personal preference.
I'm not sure why my mom fry the potato slices in oil before stewing, but I'm guessing it's to partially cook the potato and to allow the exterior to firm up so that it doesn't break apart so easily.
My mom likes to keep the seasoning simple, so there's no oyster sauce or other fanciful sauces, just simple seasoning that can be found in all Chinese families' pantries. I remember she didn't even use sesame oil to marinate the pork, but since I love the taste of sesame oil, I added a little bit into the dish.
And as we all know, there is no such thing as detailed recipes for parents and grandparents. They've been cooking for so long that they no longer need this thing called tablespoon - they simply splash in a bit of this and dollop in a bit of that. So after a few attempts and play around with the seasoning, here is my best replica of my mom's potato and minced pork stew!
|1) Marinate minced pork with light soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper.||2) Fry the potato slices in oil until lightly golden-brown on the edges. Drain the potatoes.|
|3) Drain off all the oil and add back 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Add in garlic and fry until garlic is lightly browned.||4) Add in minced pork and fry until the pork is no longer pink in colour.|
|5) Add in the potato.||6) Followed by water.|
|7) And dark soy sauce.||8) Simmer until the potato slices have softened.|
Mom's Chinese Potato and Minced Pork Stew
- Peel the potato and slice into ¼-inch thick slices. Dry both sides of the potato slices thoroughly with paper towel.
- Mix minced pork, light soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper in a small bowl. Set aside to marinate.
- Heat ½- to ¾-inch deep of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add in the potato slices in a single layer and fry, flipping the potato slices, until both the edges are slightly golden. Drain the potatoes. Repeat until all the potato slices have been fried.
- Drain all the oil in the frying pan until about 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil is left. Heat over medium heat and add in the garlic. Fry the garlic until slightly golden and add in the marinated minced pork, flattening it into a single layer. Cook, untouched, for a few minutes until slightly browned then break up the pork and cook until the pork is no longer pink.
- Add in the potato slices, dark soy sauce and water. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the sauce is slightly thickened. If it's too dry, splash in a little more water.
- Transfer the potatoes into a serving plate, garnish with chopped spring onion and serve with porridge or rice.