Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce (釀青椒 – Yeung Chang Jeu)

Fish Paste Stuffed Peppers Hatch peppers

This is a dish I make over and over because I love it that much. We usually don’t order it at dim sum because my mom made a better version. At dim sum, it typically comes with peppers, eggplants, and tofu, and hence the name 煎釀三寶 (jeen yeung sam bo). Today I’m only using peppers – hatch peppers! – even though bell peppers are often used. Hatch peppers were on sale at the supermarket and I had never had them so I thought I’d give it a shot. They’re very mild in heat as I didn’t even feel it. In university, a friend has made stuffed jalapeño peppers – now that’s hot!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large hatch peppers, cut in half and de-seeded, then cut into 3 chunks each
  • Large container of fresh fish paste (~1.5 cups)
  • 1 large spring onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried shrimp, rinsed, soaked 10min and chopped
  • 4 dried Chinese mushrooms, rinsed, soaked 5 hours (or 1/2hr in warm water) and chopped
  • 4-5 drops cooking wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fermented black beans (豆豉), rinsed and minced
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • Sauce: 2 quick lugs soy sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch, dash sugar, dash sesame oil, 2 tbsp water

Directions:

Method 1 (I tried this idea from Christine’s Recipes today)

  1. Mix the spring onion, dried shrimp, and mushrooms into the fish paste with a sprinkle of sugar, 4-5 drops of cooking wine, salt and white pepper to taste.
  2. Using a silicone spatula, stuff the fish paste into the insides of the peppers, making the sides smooth with the edges of the peppers.
  3. Panfry the peppers, fish side down, on medium high heat until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Panfry any leftover fish paste by making a cake out of it in the pan, ~0.5cm thick, and panfry both sides until cooked. Cut into bite-sized pieces with your spatula. Set aside.
  5. Add a small lug of oil and sauté the garlic and fermented black beans until fragrant. Add in the “sauce”, water/chicken stock, and the mushroom and shrimp water. Bring to a boil. Return the peppers into the pan and bring to a boil again. Turn down the heat and simmer for ~5min until the fish paste and peppers are cooked through. Add in the fish cake at the end and mix.

Method 2 (The way my mom does it that retains the crunch of the peppers)

  1. Rather than braising the peppers in the sauce, panfry the peppers on all sides until cooked through. Set aside. Panfry the leftover fish paste into a fish cake as above.
  2. Make the sauce by simmering the “sauce”, water/chicken stock, mushroom and shrimp water until reduced and thick. Drizzle on top of the peppers, or serve in a separate bowl so each person can get a spoonful each time they pick up a pepper.

Tips:

  • For the stuffing, you can use many different fragrant ingredients such as chopped coriander (芫茜 – yim sai), Chinese sausages (臘腸 – lap cheung), Chinese bacon (臘肉 – lap yuk), and even dried tangerine peel (陳皮 – chun pay) (soaked).
  • In Seattle, you can find fish paste at Wong Tung Seafood in the International District. According to Yelp reviews, it may be the only place in Seattle that sells it!
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