Lost Street Food: Horse Station Pot (大馬站煲)

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So this week, we wanted to show you how to make an old school Cantonese dish, Dai Ma Zam Bo or Horse Station Pot. It’s a delicious, pretty straightforward pot of roast pork and tofu that’s got this really cool history stretching all the way back to the end of the Qing dynasty. So to help us through this today we’ve got a guest cook that grew up with the dish – Steph’s Dad, Dawei. He’ll give us a bit of the historical background here and I’ll come back a bit later. So right. At its core, this is a quick stew of Siu Yuk roast pork belly. Now, I do know that we are stupid spoiled out here in Shunde… over here we, like, can get restaurant quality Siu Yuk at basically a random stall in our local market.

For those of you not so lucky though, you could maybe categorize this dish in your head as a way to use up leftovers. So this was just about 200 grams worth of pork, sliced into roughly inch by inch and a half chunks. Second leg of the horse stop pot, tofu. This was just one block, or 400 grams of silken tofu, though soft tofu would also work ok here. Just cut it in half vertically, then slice that into eight pieces in all. Then for flavor, the base here is primarily gunna be coming from a tablespoon of Cantonese shrimp paste, which you should be able to find at most Chinese supermarkets, and… jiucai Chinese chives. Now, those Chinese chives should also be available at the majority Chinese or Korean supermarkets and are kinda fundamental here. If you can’t find them, Dawei suggested scallion but warned that the flavor would be very different. So just slice up 40 grams worth, leaving the fibrous ends for the birds, and… set that aside. Last bit, green garlic. This was 60 grams worth, and I do know that in a lot of places green garlic is more a seasonal thing.

So know that this bit is far from mandatory – here Dawei separated the whites from the greens… that white bit can totally be replaced by a couple cloves of garlic, and you could think of the green part here as ‘recommended but ultimately optional’. So now, we can cook. We’ll be using a small claypot here today, which’s thoroughly recommended for maximum authenticity bonus points, but anything similar sized would work just fine. So once your pot’s hot enough where your hand can start to feel a bit of the heat, go in with a tablespoon of peanut oil and toss in the white part of the green garlic. Over a medium flame now, just fry that for about 45 seconds til fragrant, then toss in your roast pork. Fry the pork for about two minutes, or until its fat is just beginning to render off, then swirl in a tablespoon of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine. Quick mix, then go in with the shrimp paste… being sure to get every last bit of it.

Quick mix, then add in a touch of water together with another small swirl of wine, then add in the tofu. Now pour in a half a cup of water, cover, and let that simmer over a medium low flame for fifteen minutes. After that time, add in the optional green garlic greens, cover, and let it cook for another two minutes to soften. Then at that point, taste your soup to check on salinity, and assuming you’re good on that front season with a teaspoon of sugar.

Now add in your Jiucai Chinese chives, about a teaspoon of peanut oil, then cover, shut off the heat, and serve. And with that, you’ve got your Horse Station pot, just like how they used to make it in Guangzhou..

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