Char Yoke is a Hakka dish that is commonly found at our local chap fun (economy rice) stalls. I really like it and have been wanting to try it out for myself at home. Char Yoke is essentially braised pork with wood ear fungus. The secret in the dish lies in the use of fermented bean curd (“nam yue” – Cantonese or “tau ju” – Hokkien).
The cooking steps are two-fold and although its really very easy, preparing the dish does take a little while to ensure the flavour is fully released. Here’s my easy recipe for Hakka Char Yoke or Braised Pork with Wood Ear fungus.
- 250g lean pork cut into pieces
- 3-4 pieces of wood ear fungus soaked
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 piece of fermented beancurd (“nam yue”/ “tau ju”)
- Dash of oyster sauce
- Marinade the pork with 3/4 piece of the fermented bean curd and a dash of oyster sauce. Set aside for at least half an hour. Half a day would be better.
- Wash and soak the wood ear fungus (mu er – Mandarin or mok yue – Cantonese or bok nee – Hokkien) then when rehydrated, slice it into thin slices or into small pieces according to taste.
- Saute the chopped garlic in a pan with some oil. Then, add the marinated meat and stir fry gently until the meat is semi cooked.
- Pour some water in the pan to cover the meat halfway, and add the wood ear fungus. Add the remaining bit of fermented beancurd, stir through and then cover and simmer on low heat.
- Stir occasionally and ensure that the water does not dry out. Add more water of necessary. Braise for about 1 hour until meat is soft.
- Dish out and serve with hot white rice.
See, I told you it was super easy! It is important to braise it for a while because the meat will take time to release its flavour and for the flavour to be infused into the dish. Don’t put too much water. You want enough water to have some gravy but not so much that it turns into a soup.