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Sauteed Kidneys {Chinese Style}

Traditional Chinese Bao Chao Yao Hua {爆炒腰花}

by HomeNaturallyMade
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sauteed kidneys Recipe {Chinese Style}

Sauteed Kidneys or Bao Chao Yao Hua {爆炒腰花} is a traditional and classic Chinese food, another popular organ meat dish besides liver. Kidneys, scored with diamond-cut before sauteeing, curled up into a roll during the cooking that looks like a flower. No wonder Chinese people call this well-liked Kidney Stir Fry dish Kidney Flowers, or “Yao Hua” {腰花}.

sauteed kidneys Recipe {Chinese Style}

How to cut kidneys for Kidney Flower Saute {Chao Yao Hua 炒腰花}?

You might be wondering how to cut kidneys so that they curl up into a kidney flower roll for this delicious kidney saute. It is actually quite straightforward.

Firstly, lay the fully cleaned kidney flat on the cutting board, and then use a sharp knife to score at an angle in one direction and then across to form a lattice pattern.

score the fully cleaned kidney for kidney flower saute

Secondly, flip the kidney piece so that the unscored side facing up and cut it into bite-size rectangles.

cut scored kidney into bite-size rectangles

So which direction is the kidney piece going to curl during the cooking? It will curl inward along the short sides of the rectangle with the lattice pattern exposed.

How to prepare kidneys for cooking for yummy sauteed kidneys?

Tip No.1 is to generously remove all whitish ureters entirely

Ureters and related parts, which are the whitish stuff inside the kidneys, are the cause of the unpleasant urine smell. Make sure you remove them completely. To do so, the first thing first is to slice the kidney horizontally into halves.

slice kidney horizontally into halves

For each half, use a sharp thin knife and use a combination of cutting, slicing, and peeling techniques to remove the ureters and related parts. You may need to do it a thin layer at a time, and then patiently repeat until all the white ureters are removed.

remove kidney ureters to prepare kidney for cooking

Tip No.2 is to soak the kidney pieces in milk

After you’ve scored and cut the kidneys into bite-size rectangles with lattice patterns, wash and rinse the kidneys using cold water multiple times until the water is clear, or mostly clear.

Then add the kidneys to a big bowl along with a cup of cold milk. Toss and mix well and let it rest for about 10 minutes while you are preparing other ingredients. Milk will further neutralize any residual unpleasant flavor and make the kidneys taste better.

soak cleaned and cut kidney in milk

Last but not least is to marinate the kidneys properly for tasty sauteed kidneys

I use sliced ginger, a splash of sake, naturally aged soy sauce (or dark soy sauce), and light soy sauce to tenderize and flavor the kidneys. A tiny bit of white pepper, sesame oil, white vinegar, and salt will lend additional flavor and taste. The arrowroot flour serves as starch to velvet the kidney.

marinated kidneys ready for saute

What kind of kidneys is good for sauteed kidneys Chinese Style?

Traditionally pork kidneys are predominantly used for Chinese Kidney saute dishes, mainly because pork kidneys were more available in China during old times. You can also use lamb kidneys, which are readily available in US grocery stores and they become my preferred choice.

sauteed kidneys recipe {Chinese Style Chao Yao Hua 炒腰花}
sauteed kidneys Recipe {Chinese Style}

Sauteed Kidneys Recipe {Chinese Bao Chao Yao Hua 爆炒腰花}

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Sauteed Kidneys or Bao Chao Yao Hua {爆炒腰花} is a traditional and classic Chinese food. Satisfyingly delicious and can be easy to make as long as you know a few tips and tricks to prepare kidneys.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole kidneys, apprimately, pork or lamb kidneys
  • 4 oz red bell pepper, about half of a large red bell pepper
  • 4 oz green bell pepper, about half of a large green bell pepper
  • 4 oz red onion, about a small red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 dried chili pepper, optional, if you like spicy food
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil, or other cooking oi

For Marinating the Kidneys:

  • a small piece of ginger, about 12 g, thin julienne sliced
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp naturally aged soy sauce or dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/4 Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot flour

For Rinsing the Kidneys

  • Water {and a cup of milk to soak the cleaned kidneys in}

Instructions

Prepare Kidneys:

  • Wash and rinse kidneys a couple of times and pat dry with a paper towel and slice each kidney horizontally into halves.
    slice kidney horizontally into halves
  • For each half, use a sharp thin knife via a combination of cutting, slicing, and peeling techniques to remove the whitish stuff, or the ureters and related parts entirely. You may need to do it a thin layer at a time, and then patiently repeat until all the white stuff is removed completely. Be generous about removing the whitish stuff, they are the source of the unpleasant smell.
    remove kidney ureters to prepare kidney for cooking
  • Lay the fully cleaned kidney flat on the cutting board, and then use a sharp knife to score at an angle in one direction and then across to form a lattice pattern.
    score the fully cleaned kidney for kidney flower saute
  • Secondly, flip the kidney piece so that the unscored side faces up and cut it into bite-size rectangles. The kidney piece will cur inward along the short side of the rectangle with the lattice pattern exposed.
    cut scored kidney into bite-size rectangles for sauteed kidneys
  • Add the kidney pieces to a large bowl, wash and rinse multiple times under cold water, until the water is almost clear. Place the cleaned kidneys on a plate. Wash the large bowl.
  • Add the cleaned kidneys back to the large bowl, along with 1 cup of whole milk. Toss and mix well using a pair of bamboo or wooden spatulas and let it rest for about 10 minutes while you are preparing other ingredients.
    soak cleaned and cut kidney in milk for tastier sauteed kidneys
  • After you've prepared other ingredients (vegetables and herbs), come back to the kidneys. Drain the kidneys and wash the bowl. Add the kidneys back to the bowl, along with everything under "For Marinating the Kidneys" except for the arrowroot flour.
    marinating kidneys for sauteed kidneys Chinese Style {Bao Chao Yao Hua} Recipe
  • Toss and mix well using a pair of bamboo or wooden spatulas. Then add the arrowroot flour to the bowl and toss & mix well again.
    marinating kidneys for Sauteed Kidneys Chinese Style
    marinated kidneys ready for saute

Prepare Vegetables and Herbs:

  • Wash & rinse red and green bell pepper, remove the seeds. Trim both ends off of the small red onion and peel off the outer layer. Peel the garlic.
    red & green bell pepper, garlic, red onion and ginger on the plate
  • Slice the ginger into thin julienne cuts, mince the garlic, cut the red & green bell pepper into small bite-size squares, and cut the red onion into halves horizontally and then across into bite-size pieces. Separate the red onion layers.
    cut vegetables and herbs - green & red bell pepper, red onion, ginger and garlic

Saute the Kidneys:

  • Drain the kidneys from the marinating sauce and add to the plate and set it aside.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and heat a 12-inch hard anodized fry pan for 2 minutes and then add the 2 tbsp avocado oil. Use the silicone spatula to spread evenly across the pan and then add the kidneys.
    saute kidneys in the fry pan
  • Spread out the kidneys and them toss and turn using the pair of bamboo spatulas for about 2-3 minutes, or till no blood is seen coming out of kidneys and they start to curl up adn firm up. Turn off the heat and remove the kidneys from the pan, including all juice coming out of kidneys and place them on a plate.
  • Turn the heat back on to medium-high and add all the prepared vegetables and minced garlic, and dried chili if you decide to include them. No stop toss, fold and mix for about 2 minutes, or till they become wilt.
    saute red & green bell peppers, red onion, and garlic in the fry pan
  • Add the cooked kidneys back to the fry pan, along all the juice.
    saute kidneys with vegetables
  • Toss and mix using a pair of bamboo or wooden spatulas for about 1-2 minutes.
    sauteed kidneys Chinese Style in the frying pan
  • All done! Enjoy!
    sauteed kidneys recipe {Chinese Style Chao Yao Hua 炒腰花}

Notes

  • About 4 pork kidneys or 6 lamb kidneys. Lamb kidneys usually are smaller.

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