Nyonya Bian Chee comfort food
I was running out of ideas on how to cook minced pork, apart from the usual steam pork and black sauce dishes. Then a friend reminded me of this dish from my childhood. What’s with the name? Frankly I have no idea. That’s what my Mum called it, and it is what it is.
My mum used to make this once in a while and I loved the croutons that came with it. I hardly made this when the boys were growing up though, coz making the croutons seemed like too much effort. Now when I think about it, I don’t know why I hesitated as it isn’t all that challenging cooking Bian Chee. But then again, with all this extra MCO time, there ‘s really nothing that falls in the ‘too much work’ category, is there?
I’ve added some peas to the basic recipe for some colour and while Mum used to fry the bread for the croutons, I popped them into the toaster as it’s faster and less oily though not as fragrant. The measurements for the seasonings are just a suggestion as there’s really no right or wrong to the taste, as long as you get a nice balance of flavours. There are a few nyonya dishes which have Worcestershire sauce in them – probably the European influence from the early century when the English colonists were still here – some versions of bian chee don’t bother with this sauce and it still works.
400g minced pork
2 potatoes, cubed
Half a cup of croutons (either fried or toasted)
1 big onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon soya sauce
salt and pepper to taste
dash of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
Fry the garlic and onion lightly for a bit, then add the minced pork and potatoes and peas. Continue frying for 3 minutes or so, and then add about half a cup of water. About 5 to 10 minutes into the cooking, add all the various seasoning.
Stir fry the ensemble for another 10 minutes or so until the water reduces. And that’s it! Scoop everything into a plate and just before serving, garnish with the croutons. You can have Bian Chee to go with rice, or even with French bread.