"Bankuang Char" is a colloquial Penang Hokkien word meaning "stir-fry jicama or yam bean". Traditionally, this dish is a mixed stir-fry vegetables with pork and finely shredded cuttlefish (dried). This recipe is my family traditional recipe that was passed down by my mother. I've learnt it from her only last year and since then, I've been making it every time I come across jicama or yam bean at the Asian grocer. My mother traditionally makes this dish on a special family occasion, during Chinese New Year, and during our ancestors' ceremonial occasions. It is a simple dish; however, it does involve time in preparation. It matches well with other dishes on the table as a communal meal among family and friends. Subtle and light with a delicately natural sweet flavour from "bankuang". The technique and ingredients in making this dish is similar to making "jiu hu char" (dried cuttle fish stir-fry), an authentic Nyonya dish, and also the fillings for making "poh piah" or fresh spring rolls traditional and authentic to Penang Chinese.
Pre-soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of water and then cut into thin slices
Cut the green beans diagonally into thin slices
Remove the skin of garlic and finely chop them
Remove the skin of french shallots and cut into thin slices
Peel the skin of carrot and cut into thin strips
Peel the skin of jicama and cut into thin strips
Cut the pork into thin strips
Discard the prawn shells, devein the prawns and cut into small bite pieces
In a hot oil, add and stir-fry the chopped garlic. Then add and stir-fry the pork
Add prawns and then mushrooms follow by shallots, beans, carrots and then jicama. Stir-fry, add a bit of water and cover with a lid to simmer until the vegetables are soft and cooked
How to make
Pre-soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of water for 30-60 minutes or until they are soft. Remove and then slice the mushrooms thinly and discard the woody stem. Set aside.
Wash and clean the green beans. Slice the beans diagonally into very thin slices. Set aside.
Remove the garlic skin by smashing using the back of a knife. This makes it easier to remove and discard the skin. Then chop them finely. Set aside
Remove the shallot skin and then slice thinly. Set aside.
Wash and clean the carrot. Peel the skin and then slice into thin strips. Set aside.
Peel the jicama skin. Then rinse and clean before slicing into thin strips. Set aside.
Slice the pork into thin strips. Set aside.
Discard the prawn's shells and then devein them before cutting into small bite pieces. Set aside.
In a hot oil, add the chopped garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Then add pork and add a dash of salt. Stir-fry for 1 minute before adding the prawns. Mix through and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms and shallots. Stir-fry and mix through for 30 seconds. Then add the beans and carrots. Mix through and stir-fry for another minute before adding the jicama.
Add jicama and a small bowl of water (or the water from soaking the mushrooms) and cover with a lid to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Open the lid and mix through. Add 1 tablespoon of light soy and 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt (to taste). Mix through and stir-fry for 1 minute before covering with the lid again and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add a bit more water if necessary before covering the lid.
After 10 minutes check to make sure jicama is nice and soft. Remove and plate.
This dish tastes even better the next day after reheating.
1 large or 2 small "bankuang" jicama
4-5 green beans
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
100-200gm pork loin or pork shoulder
1 french shallots or a small red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon light soy
1 teaspoon salt