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serves 4 to 6
- 15 large dried Chinese mushrooms
- 4-6 sticks of dried bean curd
- 2½ pounds pork belly or beef brisket
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 6½-inch thick ginger slices (young fragrant ginger preferred)
- 5 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- ¼ cup bamboo shoots sliced ¼-inch thick
- 10 fresh or canned water chestnuts, or 8 arrowroot
- 4 tbsp bean sauce (whole bean preferred but crushed is fine too)
- 4 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 slices each of lemon and orange peel
- 3 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
- 5 tbsp soy sauce (if you've got light and dark sauces, make it 2 of the former and 3 of the latter)
- optional: a bunch of Chinese greens
- Soak mushrooms in warm water until soft, about 20 minutes.
- Squeeze out the excess water and discard woody stems.
- Strain mushroom water into a measuring cup and add plain water to equal 4 cups.
- Soak bean curd sticks in hot water until soft, then drain and set aside.
- Cut pork belly or beef brisket into bite-size chunks, then blanch for 20 minutes in boiling water, then drain and set aside.
- Heat cooking vessel and add peanut oil, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts (or arrowroot), mushrooms, citrus peels, and bean curd sticks.
- Stir-fry for a minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Add blanched meat, bring back to a boil, and then simmer at least 1½ hours, partially covered, until meat is very tender (skim surface occasionally for excess fat, if you wish) if using greens, lay them on top of the stew, bring it to a steady simmer, and replace the cover.
- Steam the greens till tender, and then serve them on the side (or serve the stew ladled over a bed of greens).