Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jiu Hu Char (Fried Cuttlefish)

Jiu Hu Char is a dish we always have during Chinese New Year. It is a Nyonya dish and consists of long strips of carrots, yam bean and cuttlefish. It is served with whole lettuce leaves on the side. The way to eat the Jiu Hu Char is to take a spoonful of it and put it in the middle of a lettuce leaf with sambal, if desired. The leaf is then folded over the Jiu Hu Char and popped into the mouth.

The dish is normally very oily. My mum's Jiu Hu Char is less oily than most. Her trick is to add glass noodles to the dish for its silky texture.

This recipe serves about 6-8 people.

5 cloves Garlic ; minced
50 grams pork ; sliced
1 Carrot ; peeled and shredded finely
8 grams dried cuttlefish ; shredded; soaked for 5 minutes
5 small dried mushrooms ; sliced; soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
3 shallots ; sliced
170 grams Bangkuang ; or yam bean; shredded finely
15 grams dried glass noodles ; soaked for 10 minutes
salt ; to taste

1. In a wok, heat oil. Saute garlic until lightly brown and fragrant.

2. Add pork and fry until cooked.

3. Add carrot, cuttlefish, and mushrooms. Fry until they soften.

4. Add shallots, bangkuang and glass noodles and fry until cooked.

5. Season with salt to taste.

6. Serve wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves with a side of sambal for spice.


  1. I thought bangkuang is radish

  2. We had a bit of a debate with this one. I ended up calling it yambean from this article (and others) I read. Here's the extract from The Star entitled Food, glorious food by DR LIM CHIN LAM dated July 17, 2009:

    "...Yam-bean or turnip? Neither name is appropriate. The edible root tuber that we know as sengkuang in Malay, bangkuang in Hokkien, and sah kok in Cantonese, is locally called turnip in English. The latter name is incorrect — we do not have turnip in Malaysia, although the turnip, Brassica rapa, of the Cruciferae family, does resemble the sengkuang in shape and size.

    The sengkuang has the botanical name Pachyrhizus erosus, of the bean family Leguminosae. Its name in English is yambean — no doubt because it is of the bean family and because we eat the root tuber, the yam.

    Properly, the name should be inverted to become bean-yam because we eat the tuber, not the bean — in the same way that we have oil palm plantations (oil palm, the crop) and not palm oil plantations (palm oil, the pro­duct). Even then the inverted name is inappropriate because the name in question denotes a tuber which is not a yam.

    Without splitting more hairs, it is better that we just call the tuber by the Spanish-derived name, "jicama" (pronounced "hicama"), which is commonly used in the United States and other countries. (The word can be found in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2004.)..."