Time: 45 min.
Mangkuang char carries the meaning of “jicama” and “stir-fry” in Chinese Hokkien dialect. It is particularly consumed by the Chinese in Malaysia. This sweet, tasty Nyonya dish is often cook during festivals, such as Chinese New Year, Winter solstice (冬至) and other more. For those who don’t know about the Nyonya Peranakan, it is an ethnic group of Chinese settlers from southern provinces who came to the Malay archipelago during the 15th and 17th century. This group of people had married spouses of different races especially the Malays, giving rise to a whole new culture, beliefs and of course, fusion cuisines.
As you may have seen from the picture above, grated jicama and carrots are essential in this festive dish. Believe me when I say this is not a pleasant process, grating over 400 g of vegetables, although the end product is definitely something worth looking forward for.
- 1 medium jicama (Alternative: water chestnut)
- 15 g dried cuttlefish
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbs oyster sauce
- 2 medium size carrots
- White pepper
- [Optional] Cabbages, Chinese mushrooms
[Note: I had personally never tried water chestnut as a jicama substitute before, but there is quite a lot of people out there suggest that it works]
- First, peel off the skins of jicama and carrots. Then, grate or cut them into thin slices as shown below. This is definitely going to take a while….
2. Heat the pan with some oil. Turn the down to medium flame and saute the dried cuttlefish gently until fragrant.
3. The cuttlefish will turn slightly brown and it is time to add in the diced garlic. Saute them gently until they turn light brown too.
4. Add in the carrot and fry them for around 5 minutes until they turn soft. You need to stir the content continuously from now on to allow the water to evaporate off, leaving only the sweetness of vegetables. Carrots are put in first because they require longer time to cook compare to jicama.
5. When the carrots start to soften a little, add in all the jicama. Stir them for around 5 minutes before adding in oyster sauce. Lots of juices will come out from the vegetables at this point. Don’t forget to season them with some salt.
6. Continue the stirring process for around 20-25 minutes until all the juices are absorbed by the vegetables. Make some final seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve them onto a plate.
You may also decorate the mangkuang char by sprinkling some chopped spring onions or some lettuce leaves. This is a great dish for encouraging kids to eat more vegetables. It also uses very little oil and meat which is also ideal for elderly parents. Serve this dish hot with rice! Bon apetit!
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