Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Flavors From Childhood (Chin-jao rōsu recipe)

yuka-masa-kyushu My mother is a magician. In her small kitchen, she rules over each of her ingredients and it seems like you just looked away for a few moments and WHOMP, dinner would be ready. While delicious, I didn’t grow up knowing the names of the dishes she made. I just remember the flavors and key ingredients. It’s only recently that I started matching the names and the flavors, and then the recipes, which you could only get through ethnographic means. For whatever reason, she had the recipe for Chinjao Rosu (青椒牛), a pepper steak, written down. It’s not a “steak au poivre”: this recipe’s pepper is not cracked black pepper corns, but green or other sweet peppers cut in thin sticks then stir fried with pork (though beef is more popular in the US and Japan) with oyster sauce and ginger. When I made it according to the recipe, it didn’t taste the same. Obviously some magic incantation is required. Until I know the abracadabra equivalent for it, I have tweaked the recipe to approximate the taste I remember from childhood. I’ve tried different variations and measurements of ingredients. They all worked out well, just not quite what I remembered. It is a forgiving recipe (like my mother?). Perhaps these flavors in memory live in a different dimension beyond the sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Mom’s Chinjao Rosu Recipe (with the magic)

  1. Mix the following and set aside: 1 Tbsp of sake, white wine or red wine, 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tsp of oyster sauce, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of cornstarch.
  2. Stir fry about an inch (or more) of grated ginger with 2 cloves of grated or minced garlic in 2 tsp of sesame oil (optional).
  3. When fragrant, add 200g of pork cut into thin strips (ground pork works fine and makes an economical meal, but the name of the dish refers to thinly sliced meat).
  4. When the pork is heated through, add the vegetables also cut up in strips: 2 sweet peppers (traditionally green peppers but red and yellow peppers make a more colorful dish) and 1 small can of drained bamboo shoots. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the sauce mixture from Step 1, and continue to stir. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Photo: My brother and I on a family trip. I’m clutching a small box of “snack kelp”.

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One comment on “On Flavors From Childhood (Chin-jao rōsu recipe)

  1. Chris
    June 14, 2015

    Kawaii! You look the same! Iggy loves bamboo shoots- will try the recipe.

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2015 by in Recipes and tagged , , .
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