A Flavor to Remember on the Tongue of Zizhong People
By Qiankun, Liu
During the years from Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China, the production of Zizhou mustard tine has reached a peak. More than ten sauce works appeared in succession including De Feng Heng, Dao Sheng Yuan, Tian Fu Xing and Zhen Ji. But only the Zizhou mustard tine out of Xing Sheng Yong sauce work is recognized by the majority. Because of the tastiness, fragrance, tenderness and crispness, which are specific to Zizhong mustard tine, local officers chose the best mustard tine from Xing Sheng Yong sauce work’s cellar every year as a tribute to the court.
In the late Qing dynasty, Luo Chengxiang, a Number One scholar from Zizhong, asked his family to send the best mustard tine in Xing Sheng Yong sauce work to Beijing where he worked at as a gift to his colleagues. The grand secretary Sun jianai wrote a poem to praise it after eating.
Since 1687, when Zizhou sauce industry had a record in history, Feng Yuan Zizhong mustard tine has been developed considerably based on the endeavor of brewers from generation to generation and technological innovation. It has also become more and more famous. Zizhong mustard tine, together with Neijiang turnip, YIbin bean sprout and Fuling hot pickled mustard tuber, is named as “the Four Pickles of Sichuan”, being included in the “world famous products” and also winning several national, provincial and municipal awards.
Germanic experts and Mr. Tada, a researcher from Hiroshima Research institute in Japan once visited Feng Yuan Food Company, they are all profuse in praise after eating the mustard tine.
Zizhong mustard tine has a mild and lingering fragrance. It’s a good choice to make soup with it. One water live one people, one land grow one product. The soil of Zizhong is also good for sweet potato. Naturally, some by-products such as tapioca pasta and sweet potato starch are productive. As for the starch, there is a folk dish called” slippery pork”. The pork of upper foreleg or streaky pork is a usual choice for this dish. I am used to choose the pork of upper foreleg which has half fat and half thin. Cut it into a strip of 10cm long and 5cm wide, marinate it with pepper, salt and a large amount of sweet potato starch. Put the marinated pork in to the wok until the water boils. Because the cooked starch is slippery, thus the dish is named with “slippery”. Put a strip of mustard tine of about 20 grams into the soup, the soup would turn into slight yellow. Salt is unnecessary, both the soup and the pork will have the fragrance and tastiness of the mustard tine.
Zizhong mustard tine looks shiny brown, it could be used to make soup, fry with meat or used as a seasoning. It’s fragrant, a little sweet, crisp and fresh. It’s a popular food in Zizhong.
The application of mustard tine
This food could be used to make many dishes. For example, steamed pork, spicy fish with mustard tine, stewed duck with seaweed and mustard tine, braised chicken with mustard tine, Lion’s head meatballs with mustard tine, mustard tine noodles, steamed stuffed bun with mustard tine, dumplings, fried minced pork with mustard tine and fried shredded pork with mustard tine, it can also be put into sliced meat soup and meatballs soup to create a special flavor.
一、 Shiny braised tofu
In 2016, I went back to Zizhong to shoot a documentary recording the techniques of making mustard tine. My friends invited me to have dinner in a local fine restaurant. On the table, there was a dish called “shiny braised tofu”, very similar to the traditional dish. What makes it impressive and special is that some mashed mustard tine is put in it, very thin, sticky to each piece of tofu. When you eat the tofu, soon the fragrance of mustard tine will pervade in the mouth. Apparently, it’s an innovative dish and worth promoting.
二、 Fried shredded pork with mustard tine
1. Ingredients: thin pork 250g, mustard tine 70g, scallion 100g, shredded red pepper, shredded ginger, shredded scallion, salad oil 100g, refined salt, gourmet powder, soup, water soybean powder, and sugar.
2. Method: shred the pork, put it into the bowl and mix it thoroughly with salt 1g and water soybean powder. Shred the mustard tine, add salt, gourmet powder, pepper, water soybean powder, soup and sugar to make a sauce. Put the wok on a high fire, put the shredded pork into the wok until the salad oil is of 60% heat, pour the sauce in the wok, and fry them thoroughly.
3. Feature: attractive in color and delicious, a great rice-mate.
三、 Mustard tine noodles
Add red soy sauce, lard, chopped green onion, paprika oil, pepper powder, vinegar, mustard tine particle and gourmet powder to the cooked noodle, mix them up.
四、 Sichuan cuisine Salty Shao Bai(salty steamed pork)
Salty Shao Bai is one of the most famous Sichuan cuisine, a salty steamed dish mainly made of streaky pork. Zizhong mustard tine, the main seasoning, is the specialty of Neijiang, Sichuan, famous for its tastiness and tenderness.
Ingredients: pork belly 2000g, mustard tine 200g.
Seasoning: boiled oil, fermented glutinous rice wine, soy sauce
1. Wash the pork belly, cut it into five pieces, and boil them in cold water.
2. Take the pork out until it could be pierced with chopstick easily.
3. Prepare some fermented glutinous rice wine and soy sauce.
4. Coat the cold pork with fermented glutinous rice wine.
5. Then well coat the pork with soy sauce.
6. Pour some oil in the wok, fry the pork to golden color.
7. Dip the fried pork into cold water.
8. Smash the boiled mustard tine.
9. Slice the pork and put them in a deep bowl.
10. Pour some soy sauce on the pork.
11. Put the mustard tine on the pork.
12. Put the bowl in the wok and steam it with intense heat for at least 1h. Then pour the pork into a dish and dish it up.
五、 Fried minced pork with mustard tine
Ingredients: pork (half fat and half thin) 400g, mustard tine particle 200g, dry hot pepper(cut into pieces of 2cm), oil mixture, refined salt, gourmet powder, sugar.
Method: mince the pork. Preheat the oil in the wok over the medium fire. Fry the pork until the flavor comes out and the pork becomes crisp. Put the mustard tine particle in, add hot pepper, and fry them together until the water dries. Add some sugar and gourmet powder before dishing up.
Feature: fat but not greasy, a good rice-mate and a good noodle sauce.