Stir Fried Yam Bean (Bang Kuang Char)

The smell and sight of this dish always brings me back to my grandma’s kitchen especially during Chinese New Year. Come every Chinese New Year, my grandma will turn into a super woman. She will single handedly whip up a sumptuous reunion dinner for the whole family. She was still cooking when she was in her 80’s! I really do appreciate what my grandma has done for the family. She was never a good cook, or should I say she has never cook before until she married my grandfather (she has a few servants serving her when she was a young girl). I remember my mum once telling me that my grandma’s cooking really cannot make it but that was in the past. Now she tops the list of best cook imo. She honed her skills from cooking show and referring to recipe books which are mainly in Chinese and she is English educated!! Grandma is getting old now (real old), she has since hung up her apron.

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Okay, back to the dish. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this dish which is commonly served during Chinese New Year. Yam bean or colloquially known as bang kuang/mang kuang amongst Chinese in Malaysia is a root vegetable that looks like turnip. Yam bean can also be eaten raw (smear with rojak sauce and sprinkle with crushed peanuts-Oh My!) with a crunchy texture and taste somewhat like water chestnut. For this dish, all the ingredients need to be in julienne. You can either julienne them by hand or use a mandoline (if you are feeling lazy). Grandma always julienne the ingredients by hand. She said the strips will have a firmer texture as compared to using a mandoline. She will julienne the yam bean one after another until wee hours in the morning. Trust me, I know how tiring it is to cut them into fine equal strips and I’m only cooking for two. What more for grandma when she has three generations to feed!!

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Stir Fried Yam Bean (Bang Kuang Char)

1 medium Yam bean, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
5-6 shitake mushroom, soaked and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2tbsp cooking oil

Seasoning
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp salt
200ml water

1. Heat up 2 tbsp oil in the wok and saute garlic until fragrant.
2. Add carrot and stir fry for a few minutes. Then follow by yam bean and mushroom. Fry for a few minutes.
3. Pour in the seasoning and mix until well combined. Cover with lid and simmer on medium heat. Stir occasionally until yam bean and carrot becomes soft and slightly dry. It takes approximately 30-40 minutes.
4. Adjust to taste.
5. Dish up and serve with lettuce and sambal belachan. Or you could use as filling for pie tee.

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