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Fuchsia Dunlop's Twice Cooked Swiss Chard (Hui Gua Niu Pi Cai)

Note: I wanted to expand my palate when it comes to Asian flavours and picked up the Every Grain of Rice cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop. Some of the ingredients I had to buy ( Sichuanese chilli bean paste and fermented black beans) were not things that had ever been in my kitchen before. However, these items are very easy accessible and in my opinion, well worth searching out. They bring the most amazing flavours to simple dishes. This twice cooked chard has definitely become a regular in our house. 
Fuchsia Dunlop's Twice Cooked Swiss Chard (Hui Gua Niu Pi Cai)
Makes 2-4 portions

1 large bunch Swiss chard
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tbsp Sichuanese chilli bean paste
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 1/2 tsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup stock or water
3 tbsp finely chopped celery (or 1 tsp celery powder)
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens


Cut the chard leaves from the stems. Snap each stem into a few pieces, which will allow you to peel away and discard the stringy bits, as you would with celery.

Bring a potful of water to a boil, add the stems and boil for about three minutes, until tender. Add the leaves and boil for another minute or so until they are also cooked. Drain and run under cold running water.

Squeeze the chard dry, then cut into bite-sized lengths. Pour the oil into a seasoned wok over a medium heat, swirl it around, then add the chilli bean paste and stir-fry until it smells delicious and the oil is richly red. Add the garlic, ginger and black beans and stir-fry for a few moments more until you can smell their fragrances. Then add the stock, bring to a boil, add the chard and stir until it is piping hot once more.

Finally, stir in the celery (or powder), cilantro and spring onion, stir a few times, then serve. We like serving this with a bed of rice.