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Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style

Ba Bao La Jiang {八宝辣酱}

by Shirley
Published: Last Updated on
Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style Recipe

Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style Ba Bao La Jia {八宝辣酱} is a traditional home cooking in China’s Yangtze River Delta. A place I proudly call my hometown. It is also home to naturally yummy Huai Yang Cuisine {淮扬菜}.

No doubt eight (8) is a lucky number in Chinese culture. By the way, eight treasures porridge {Ba Bao Zhou 八宝粥} is another iconic food.

Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style Recipe

What is Eight Treasures Stir Fry {Ba Bao La Jiang}?

Ba Bao La Jiang {八宝辣酱} literally translates as eight treasures spicy sauce. Eight treasures refer to the assortment of ingredients going into the stir fry. Pork, shrimp, tofu, carrots, dried shiitake, potatoes, fried peanuts, and edamame are among the popular “treasures”. During the summer, I enjoy using homegrown zucchini and summer squash too.

We slice and dice all ingredients, except for small objects such as peanuts and edamame, into small cubes.

Stir Fry Eight Treasures in the frying pan

Speaking of spicy, traditional Shanghai-style food has a very mild spicy level. As a matter of fact, Huai Yang Cuisine is well-known for its semi-sweetness. Pork filling for iconic food such as Suzhou-Style Mooncake {Rou Yue Bing 肉月饼} or Sweet Rice Flour Pork Dumplings {Rou Tang Yuan 肉汤元} all has a hint of sweetness.

Nevertheless, you are welcome to spice it up if you like spicy food.

How to make Ba Bao La Jiang at home?

Tip No.1 is to marinate and cook the pork first

Pork sirloin, butt, or shoulder are all suitable for Eight Treasures Stir Fry. When using pork butt or shoulder, remove the excessive connecting tissues first. Wash and rinse the pork, and then cut into small cubes and place them in a mixing bowl. Add Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, a tiny bit of organic ginger powder, and some arrowroot flour. Toss and mix well and let it rest while you are preparing the vegetables.

marinate pork cubes in a mixing bowl with Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, etc.

Once you’ve prepared all the other ingredients, please cook the pork first. Turn the heat to medium-high and heat a hard anodized fry pan for 1 minute, add a tiny bit of avocado oil or olive oil, and pan fry the pork until almost fully cooked.

Since we are going to stir-fry with the vegetable assortments, you don’t have to fully cook the pork at this point.

fried pork cubes in the frying pan

If you decide to include shrimp as one of the treasures, pan-fry the shrimp in advance too. Pan fry to about 80% fully cooked and then cut into small cubes.

Pan Fried Shrimp
Pan Fried Shrimp {Quick Delicious Healthy Way}

Tip No.2 is to blanch certain ingredients before stir-frying

For ingredients that take time to cook, or taste better after being blanched, blanch them before stir-frying. For example, spiced or original firm pressed tofu, edamame, carrots, or potatoes.

The key to a tasty blanching is to have a big pot of boiling water and blanch in small batches.

freshly blanched edamame and carrots

Tip No.3 is to stir fry cooked protein with vegetable assortments including pre-blanched ones

The highlight of the stir-fry sauce ingredient is traditional Chinese soybean paste or Da Jiang {大酱} in Chinese. It is made of fermented soybeans.

For substitution, you can either mix finely chopped Chinese douchi with Korean soybean paste or use Sweet Bean Paste {Tian Mian Jiang 甜面酱}.

Reduce or skip the sugar in the ingredients if you use sweet bean paste.

Eight Teasure Stir Fry Sauce

For a mild spicy level, I use a combination of Sichuan chili powder and paprika. If you like spicy food, then go for 100% Sichuan chili powder.

Last but not least, is to garnish Eight Treasure Stir Fry with pan-fried peanuts

Similar to dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken or Szechuan Noodle Salad, we garnish the Chinese pan-fried peanuts at last when plating, same as what we do here.

Pan-fried peanuts Chinese Style is crunchy, satisfyingly tasty, and quick & easy to make. It takes about 10 minutes to make and is extremely versatile. Munch on it as a snack or incorporate it into dishes like this.

You can cook this in advance and store it in an airtight glass jar.

Chinese Style Pan Fried Peanuts

This Shanghai-Style Ba Bao La Jiang is naturally delicious and versatile. Pair it with a rice or noodle for an easy and quick dinner.

Eight Treasures Stir Fry {Ba Bao La Jiang} Recipe
Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style Recipe

Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Eight Treasures Stir Fry Shanghai Style Ba Bao La Jiang {八宝辣酱} is a traditional home cooking in China's Yangze River Delta area. So naturally yummy and versatile.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork, sirloin, butt or shoulder
  • 1/2 shrimp, peeled and deveined, optional
  • 1/2 lb of zucchini, or celery
  • 1/2 lb summer squash, or potato
  • 1/3 lb carrots
  • 1/3 lb firm pressed tofu, plain or spiced
  • 1 cup edamame, frozen or fresh
  • 40 g dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 cup pan-fried peanuts

For Marinating and Sauteing the Pork:

  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp naturally aged soy sauce, or dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp arrowrrot flour
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder, organic preferred
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil, for saute the pork

For Stir Fry:

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar, organic unrefined preferred
  • 2 tbsp soybean paste (Da Jiang 大酱), see notes for substituion
  • 1 1/2 cups of water used to soak the dried shiitake

Instructions

Pan Fry Peanuts In Advance:

  • See here for a detailed tutorial on how to pan fry peanuts quick, easy, tasty and healthy.
    Chinese Style Pan Fried Peanuts


Soak Dried Shiitake Mushroom In Advance:

  • Soak dried shiitake in water at least 3 hours before cooking to fully rehydrate the mushroom.
  • Wash and rinse the dried shiitake and place them in a mixing bowl and add plenty of water. Save the soaking water for later use as part of the stir fry sauce. re-hydrated dried shiitake vs. dried shiitake

Saute the Pork:

  • Wash and rinse the pork well, and remove excessive connecting tissues when using pork shoulder or butt. Cut the pork into small cubes and place them in a mixing bowl. Add Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, ginger powder and arrowroot flour.
    marinate pork cubes in a mixing bowl with Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, etc.
  • Use a pair of bamboo spatulas to toss and mix well and set it aside.
    marinated pork cubes in the mixing bowl
  • Proceed to the next section of preparing vegetables. Once done and continue to saute the pork.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and heat a hard anodized frying pan for 1 minute. Add about 1/2 tbsp avocado oil, either using an amber glass oil sprayer or use a silicone spatula to spread the oil evenly out across the pan, and then add the marinated pork. Toss pork until they are almost fully cooked.
    fried pork cubes in the frying pan
  • Remove the pork from the pan and set it aside.

Pan Fry the Shrimp:

  • If you include shrimp in the "treasures", see here how to pan fry the shrimp, pan fry to almost cooked. Remove from the pan, and wait for it to cool down a little bit before cutting them into small cubes and setting them aside.
    Sprinkle salt, black pepper, paprika and minced garlic onto seared shrimp

Prepare the Vegetables:

  • Blanch those vegetables that require a longer time to cook or taste better after being blanched. Tofu, carrots, potatoes, and frozen edamame belong to this category.
  • Add water to a stockpot, cover it with a lid, and bring it to a boil.
  • While waiting, do the following - cut tofu into small cubes; wash, rinse and peel carrots and/or potatoes into small cubes,
  • Once the water reaches a boil, add tofu, carrots, potatoes, and frozen edamame into the boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid and wait for it to reach a boil again, then turn the heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the vegetables from the boiling water using a stainless steel spider strainer and set them aside.
    freshly blanched edamame and carrots
  • For other vegetables that do not require blanchings, such as zucchini, summer squash, celery, and rehydrated shiitake mushroom, cut them into small cubes.
    vegetable assortment for making Eight Treasures Stir Fry

Stir Fry Eight Treasures:

  • Turn on the heat to medium-high and add 2 tbsp avocado oil along with the sliced garlic, coriander seeds powder, Sichuan chili powder and paprika. Mix and fold into the oil for about 15 seconds or till fragrant.
    add oil, garlic, chili powder to the frying pan
  • Add the vegetable cubes, toss, fold and mix using a pair of bamboo spatulas for about 2 minutes, and then add the 2 tbsp soybean paste, continue to toss and mix for about 1 minute, or till the soybean paste is fully blended.
    vegetable assortment cubes in the frying pan with soybean paste
  • Add the previously cooked pork and/or shrimp into the pan, along with 1 1/2 cup of the water from soaking the shiitake mushroom. Use a flexible turner to fold, mix and turn and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
    Stir Fry Eight Treasures in the Fry Pan
  • Plate and garnish with pan-fried peanuts. Enjoy a naturally yummy Eight Treasures Stir Fry. Pair with a rice or noodle.
    Eight Treasures Stir Fry {Ba Bao La Jiang} Recipe

Notes

  • For Soybean Paste {Da Jiang 大酱} substitution, you can either mix finely chopped or ground Chinese douchi with Korean soybean paste or use Sweet Bean Paste {Tian Mian Jiang 甜面酱}.
  • Remember to reduce to skip sugar in the ingredients when using Sweet Bean Paste.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 26g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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