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Chinese Meat Sauce



Roujiang, Chinese meat sauce!

0:00 – What’s Roujiang?
0:24 – Don’t Mapo-ify, Roujiang-ize!
1:34 – The culture of meat sauce in China
2:42 – Recipe for Hokkien Pork & Mushroom Sauce
5:10 – Our strategy for a Mala Beef Sauce
6:11 – Recipe for Mala Beef Sauce
10:50 – How to Use Roujiangs
11:37 – Mala Beef Hotdog Taste Test

FUJIAN PORK & MUSHROOM

* Dried shiitake mushroom (冬菇), 4
* Oil for frying, preferably peanut, ~1/3 cup
* Ground pork, 300g
* Shallots (干葱), 60g
* Sugar, 1 tbsp
* Slab sugar (片糖) -or- dark brown sugar, 50g
* Yellow bean sauce (黄豆酱), aka Taucho, 6 tbsp
* Soy sauce (生抽), 2 tbsp
* Sweet chili sauce (甜辣酱), 2 tbsp
* Dark soy sauce (老抽), ¼ tsp
* Chicken bouillon powder (鸡粉), 2 tsp
* Five spice powder (五香粉), 1 tsp
* Salt, ¼ tsp
* Reserved mushroom soaking liquid, ~1/2 cup

Thoroughly rinse the shiitakes, then soak overnight in cool water. Next day, squeeze the mushrooms, slice out the stems, and dice.

Mince the shallots. To make your mise easier, you can also combine all the ingredients after the sugar into one bowl and add them all in together.

Longyau with that 1/3 cup of oil. Over a medium flame, add the pork and fry until it changes color. Add the shiitakes and the shallot. Fry for ~15-20 minutes, or until the pork has started to brown, and render out a bit of oil. Add in the sugars, melt into the meat sauce. Once melted, add the remaining ingredients, and cook for ~5 minutes or so to sort of ‘combine’ the flavors.

MALA BEEF SAUCE

Making the Sichuan peppercorn powder and chili powder (optional):

For the Sichuan peppercorn powder and chili powder below, you can either use a store bought powder or make it yourself. Of the two, I would more strongly recommend toasting/grinding the peppercorns, but it’s totally up to you.

For the peppercorns, toast one tablespoons worth over a medium-low flame for ~3 minutes, or until they begin to glisten and leave little oil splotches on your wok. Then grind in a mortar or spice grinder.

For the chili powder, we’re using a mix of ~7.5g of spicy chilis (Xiaomila ‘millet’ chilis, but you could use Tien Tsin or Thai birds eye) and ~15g of a red, fragrant chili (Sichuan Erjingtiao ‘two vixen’ chili, but you could use Guajillo or Kashmiri). Slice up the chilis into your wok, discarding the stems, then toast over a medium-low flame. After ~10 minutes or so, the chilis should be brittle enough that you could break them apart with your fingers. Transfer to a spider or a colander, jiggle out most of the seeds. Grind into a powder.

Ingredients:

* Soybeans (黄豆), 120g
* Ingredients to cook the soybean: salt, ½ tbsp; dried bay leaves (香叶), 2; star anise (八角), 1; chili pepper, 1; Sichuan peppercorns (花椒), ~7
* Oil for frying, ~2/3 cup
* Spices to infuse the oil: cinnamon (桂皮), ~1/2 stick; star anise (八角), 2; fennel seed (小茴香), ½ tsp; tsaoko a.k.a. Chinese black cardamon (草果), 1
* Pixian doubanjiang a.k.a. chili bean paste (红油郫县豆瓣酱), 2.5 tbsp
* Aromatics: garlic, 8 cloves, minced; ginger, ~2 inches, minced; onion, ½ medium, minced; scallion, 150g, white and green parts separated and both sliced (greens are used later in the recipe)
* Ground beef, 500g
* Douchi, fermented black soybeans (豆豉), 1.5 tbsp. aka Yangjiang preserved beans
* Chili powder from above -or- a mix of 2 tbsp cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp of a not spicy chili powder like gochugaru or Kashmiri (feel free to use less cayenne/more mild chili if you want it less spicy)
* Soybean cooking liquid, 1.5 cups
* Liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine (料酒/绍酒), 1.5 tbsp
* Soy sauce (生抽), 4 tbsp
* Sugar, ½ tbsp
* Chicken bouillon powder (鸡粉), 1 tsp
* Final seasoning: salt, ¼ tsp; white pepper powder (白胡椒粉), 1 tsp; MSG (味精), 1 tsp; dark Chinese vinegar (陈醋/香醋), ½ tbsp; Sichuan peppercorn powder, from above -or- 1 tbsp

Wash the soybeans, then soak with hot, boiled water overnight – covered. The next day, drain, then add to a pot together with water and the ‘ingredients to cook the soybean’. Bring up to a boil, then down to a simmer.

The length of time will depend on the age of the soybean. In China, 1 hour would be enough to cook. In Thailand, we got older soybeans and after some poking around it seems to be the same case in the west. In this case, the soybeans NEED TO BE COOKED FOR 3-4 HOURS, not one. Apologies. For a way to speed things up, check out the pinned note below.

Once soft, strain and reserve the soybean cooking liquid.

For frying, I’m running out of space, so follow the video starting from 8:24.

________
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Outro Music: คิดถึงคุณจัง by ธานินทร์ อินทรเทพ
Found via My Analog Journal (great channel): https://youtu.be/GHaL5H-VYRg

What do you think?

47 Comments

  1. Hey guys, a few notes, and an important correction re soybean cooking time:

    1. You will likely need longer than one hour to cook your soybeans until soft – probably at least three hours. We found that the soybeans in Thailand were older than the ones we would get in China, and needed longer to cook. We assumed that the situation in the West would be closer to our experience in China, but after poking around it seems that the western standard is something like 3-6 hours. Apologies.

    2. If you’re short on time, you can use the following trick: first, drain out that 1.5 cups of soybean cooking liquid that we’ll want to use for the meat sauce later. Add additional water to the soybeans if needed. Then, add in ¼ tsp of either Kansui lye water or sodium carbonate. Bring to a rapid boil and boil it for 10-15 minutes – this should significantly soften the beans. This process will give the beans a slight greyish hue – slightly unattractive, but not really an issue in this particular dish.

    3. Definitely check out Xiajie’s meat sauce recipe too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3oAqJdlLc8 Xiajie’s obviously pretty big – and has English subs! – so I’m the algorithm’s brought most of you to her already… but she’s one of our absolute favorites in the ‘village cooking’ genre.

    4. I do want to reiterate that we like those ‘creative mapo tofu’ applications from the introduction – sometimes I feel like people can read a little bit too much into ‘critiques’. In particular, Matt’s (the Dumpling King) Mapo Tofu chili dog was one of the primary inspirations for this video. But all of that stuff – Andrea’s nachos, Mandy’s tofummus, Alex Blood’s mapo meat pie, Haikan’s mapo poutine – I want them all. We just feel that if mapo tofu can have so many applications, a mala roujiang would be even more versatile!

    5. As an aside, I just learned about the existence of Mabo Tofu Ramen from researching this video, and was very happy to find a Japanese place in Bangkok that served it. It’s… awesome. It aggressively breaks the shape rule in a way that feels like it might not work, but totally does.

    6. Oh, for the chili powders in the mala roujiang… definitely feel free to adjust the heat level to your tastes. I feel like the dish should be ‘obviously spicy’, but not uncomfortably so. If 2 tbsp of cayenne seems a little intimidating to your tastes, try using 3 tbsp gochugaru/Kashmiri and 1 tbsp cayenne… or even just all gochugaru/Kashmiri – you can always add more cayenne to taste later. And for those China-based, you can use Shaanxi chili powder for the ‘not spicy’ chili powder (i.e. in place of Gochugaru or Kashmiri).

    7. If you accidentally made your sauce too spicy, balance it with more MSG, sugar, and Sichuan peppercorn powder.

    8. For the curious, that bar that we were at in the outro is called "Fatty's Bar & Restaurant" – big thank you to them for letting us film there/get creative with their hot dog. If you're Bangkok-based and haven't heard of them, definitely check them out: https://goo.gl/maps/kKCw2Kvmy963vkyV9 . And while we're at it, two other Bangkok bar recommendations for those in the market: (1) United People's Brewery, https://goo.gl/maps/9Fy9jjerHs27RYov8 and (2) Yod Bar, https://g.page/YodBarBangkok?share . Fatty's is a fun place but it's definitely more of an expat haunch (so probably more relevant to people living in Bangkok than people traveling here) – United People's Brewery and Yod Bar are two of the focal points of Bangkok's nascent craft beer scene.

    9. Something that we absolutely should have talked about in the video, and I'm now kicking myself for – Zhajiang (of Zhajiangmian/Jajangmyeon fame) absolutely also belongs to the same category of meat sauces. So besides the Fujian Pork & Mushroom, Zhajiang another roujiang 'standardized to dishhood' – and is definitely the most famous of the sort.

    That’s all for now. Might edit this a bit more later with more notes.

  2. Interesting as always. Actuallly we've recently been harvesting vegetables from our backyard garden which makes me wonder, does home canning have much of a roll in chinese home cooking? Either water bath or pressure canning (I started out pressure canning to preserve vegetables via pickling, but more recently I've gotten a pressure canner which allow canning a much greater variety of ingredients.)

  3. fun fact. Au pied de cochon in montreal (famous resteraunt here in canada) has a mapo tofu with fois gras and its DELICIOUS

  4. Living in the countryside of northern Japan, I found mapo ramen and mapo tenshinhan, both of which were amazing and would leave you in a food coma for hours.

  5. Thanks for allowing me to find my ancestor dialect name.

    Been trying to search for it for decades.

    Teochew from Chaozhou. ?

  6. How long do they keep for? I make a version of the first one for my homemade noodles but always end up having them every day because I'm worried it'll go bad.

  7. Can you pls make a video on velveting?
    Oil v water?
    Corn starch slurry vs just bicarb soda?
    How to use the velveted meats afterwards?
    There don't seem to be any definitive videos explaining how to velvet meats for Chinese stir fry/cooking

    😀 pls/ ty

  8. Not meant as an offense… but this is Chinese Chili. Beans/no beans…. sweet and savory. Yeah, it's chili.

  9. Thank you! this is exactly how i feel about ma po fusion foods. I wanted to add that in Ma po tofu, the tofu itself is playing the role that a starch based ingredient normally does (to absorb flavor and dilute saltiness) so the tofu seems almost redundant in a lot of these ma po fusion foods.

  10. Won't be as pretty as yours, but I got a can of black beans, a tin of ma la paste, some fermented soybean sauce, frozen beef, five spice powder, and a bone to pick with God. I know what I'm doing tonight.

  11. Will definitely try this out! I recently made a SE asian inspired spaghetti sauce that an American expat in Vietnam (much like yourselves) had made on tiktok for his kids. I used ground pork with shrimp paste, fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic and lime. Added in a bunch of tomatoes from my garden and it was pretty good! Definitely an interesting funky flavor from the shrimp paste and fish sauce that I appreciated.
    Anyways, these look immaculate, and I like to use your recipes bc it gives me a guide to what I need to look for at my local chinese/asian markets here in the midwest. Thanks!

  12. As an Indonesian, I'd like to confirm that your pronunciation of the word "tauco" is correct. However, we usually natively spell the /tʃ/ sound as (c) proper, with no addition of "h" ("ch" is usually only for loanwords).

    Also, nice video!

  13. At 3:25 it looks like you’re using Healthy Boy tao jiew (เต้าเจี้ยว I think?) as your yellow bean sauce — would you say it’s a good option here? It’s surprisingly easy to find around where I am, and has the advantage of being the only thing in the Thai aisle that looks anything like that. (Plus it comes in really big bottles, and the few Thai recipes I make that use it call for pretty small amounts!)

  14. Yay sister Xia! She was my gateway into "Chinese people cooking Chinese food"! I believe your channel got suggested to me from watching everything of hers

  15. Kinda like you made what I would call sloppy Joe only with the beans or skyline chili without the tomatoes and Chinese flavors.

  16. Mapo tofu is a masterpiece. The delicacy of the tofu is the star. Why would you do that? So glad we have this meat sauce to try. Love this channel so much ?

  17. Not to be messy, but I'm going through a really hard season in my life, and I just love how you explain everything. It makes me feel welcomed in and educated on what is actually up instead of just glazed over with Orientalism. Thank you for the detailed videos. I would never know any of this without you guys.

  18. I have spent the last two years obsessively making mala beefslops, both mapo and plain meat varieties. This is a revelation! I will have to try adding onion, soybean, more fillers etc, and then feel even less guilty about shoveling oil and pork into my face with rice.