Name: Panfried Stuffed Pepper (Ga heung yeung ching jiu)
Primary Ingredient(s): Shrimp Paste (or Fish Paste), Green Pepper
Type of Dish: Stuffed Vegetable
Method of Preparation: Pan Fried
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I am due. Tara and I made our way out to Wallingford the other day, to partake in the Dim Sum of Bamboo Village as Nancy Lesson suggested in our local paper. We had arrived at opening (10:30am), and within fifteen minutes, the place was packed.
I’ll avoid reviewing the place, as that is not the purpose of these posts, and instead tell you of one of the more popular dishes you can find on the dim sum cart – Panfried Stuffed Pepper.
I have the Chinese name for the dish – 煎釀青椒 – but I have no idea on how to pronounce that, so it’s of little help to those of you looking to directly order the dish. But as the dish is so accessible to the western palate (as the green pepper is quite familiar to us) that it’s quite likely to be one of the standards you see on the cart. Asking for “stuffed pepper” will likely work.
So what will you get? It depends from place to place, but it will be a variation of either fish paste, or shrimp paste caked onto a slice of pepper. That’s really all there is to it. This will then be panfried until cooked, and then sent out onto the cart, sometimes covered in a sauce. Bamboo Village topped theirs with a black-bean sauce which complimented the shrimp paste-cake quite well.
I have learned something about shrimp paste which is valuable to repeat. The quality of this dish varies from location to location with good reason. There are some places that make their own paste on site. There are others who use a pre-made paste as ordered from their restaurant supplier. The difference is apparent, albeit a bit nuanced. My guess is this – if one restaurant’s paste tastes a little different from the others in the area, then the first restaurant likely makes their paste on site. The more common the taste of the paste, the more likely it is that the restaurants are all buying from the same supplier.
As I said, this is a purely guess on my part.
But let’s presume you’re a newcomer to the world of dim sum. Is this dish worth your time? I believe so. The use of green pepper gives it universal appeal, and the shrimp paste (or fish paste) can be used as a stepping stone to the more exotic dishes found on the carts. If you’re new to dim sum, I would recommend you seeking this dish out on your first or no later than second visit.