Papa Liu’s Mixed Stew (刘家大烩菜 – Liú jiā dà huì cài)

IMG_3689In a recent discussion with a friend, who I consider a good authority on all things Chinese having studied it for 5 years at University, she mentioned a lack of good comfort good in chinese cooking. While I would argue red roasted pork with rice is true home comfort, I thought I would throw something new into the mix.

This dish is a northern china classic and every (probably) family makes a version of this. It’s a great everything in one pot recipe and fantastic if you have lots of different vegetable left over. It’s my father’s favourite and he makes it at every opportunity, even if no one asked for it. My grandmother subsequently makes it every time he visits. It also happens to be one of my girlfriends favourites too, and that is after all why this blog exists in the first place.

So here it is, on a freezing winter day, delve into this cozy deliciousness!

IMG_3610Ingredients (Serves 4)

400 g pork diced
400 g Firm Tofu (Beancurd)
2 bundle sweet potato starch noodles (or bean starch noodles)
1 large potato
400 g Butternut Squash
200 g mushroom
200 g fine beans
3 spring onions (4 or more depending on preference), roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized ginger, cut into fine slices
5 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced
6 dried bird eye chillies (optional)
75 ml cooking wine
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn (powder is fine if prefered)
1 star anise (½ tbsp powder is fine if prefered)
3 tablespoon all purpose Kikkoman gf soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
3 tablespoons Sanchi gf soy sauce (dark soy sauce)
5 tablespoon rapeseed oil or groundnut oil/vegetable oil
500-700 ml chicken stock (or water)


1 medium flat pan


  1. Marinate the diced pork with plenty of cooking wine, 1 tsp black peppercorn, 3 tsp soy sauce light and 1 tsp dark. Leave for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  2. Soak the potato starch noodles in warm water for at least 30 minutes.IMG_3619
  3. Roughly break the potato into chunks, this creates a greater liquid to surface area which will make the dish more delicious!IMG_3617
  4. Cut the tofu, butternut squash, mushroom and fine beans into edible chunks, but not too small as it will fall apart when cooked.IMG_3625
  5. Add the oil to a wok, enough to cover the base.IMG_3628
  6. When the oil is hot, add the sugar and allow to dissolve.IMG_3630
  7. Add the pork to the wok, leaving behind the juice from the marinate. Stir fry until browned on all sides.IMG_3632
  8. Add the chillies, spring onion, ginger and garlic and mix well. Fry for 1 minute until fragrant.IMG_3651
  9. Add the potato, fine beans, butternut squash and mushroom to the wok. Season with salt, soy sauce light and dark, then mix together.IMG_3664
  10. Add the stock and turn the heat to high with the lid on. Cook until boiling then turn the heat to medium.IMG_3667IMG_3671
  11. After 30 minutes, add the tofu and potato starch noodles. Stir in carefully and leave to cook for another 30 minutes.IMG_3686
  12. Keep an eye on how much liquid is left, when there’s 100 ml or so left it ready!
  13. Serve and enjoy!IMG_3689

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