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Yunnan's Glorious Ganba 云南牛肉干巴

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Very nice!


With such a strongly-seasoned meat, getting the right balance of accompanying flavors must be difficult.


Is it all made lovingly by hand, or does the stuff in sealed plastic come from factories that probably make the plastic as well?


Also, is the taste about the same as 灯影牛肉? I've never been clear how that's made.


(Prickly ash = Sichuan pepper.)

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Thanks, @889. I think 灯影牛肉 is a little different, in that it is either sliced thin like paper, or pounded and shredded. I've eaten it in Chengdu, but have not seen it made. Taste was similar, but not identical; the texture was different, however. (I can't remember it well enough to precisely describe.)


The Yunnan Ganba I buy here is made and sold by one extended family with roots and a farm still in Zhaotong Prefecture. I honestly don't know to what extent they have automated the upstream manufacturing process, but this end of the supply chain, where the finished meat is cut, cooked and sold looks like it runs pretty much by hand.


This is the same shop where I usually buy ru-bing goat cheese 乳饼 and they make some of that in Zhaotong as well. I've become friendly with the proprietor and a couple of the staff. Maybe later this spring I can prevail on them to let me make an expedition up into the hills to see the manufacturing process in operation. That would probably be fun.


In my (old and simple) neighborhood it's a common sight to see Muslim restaurants hanging their own home made ganba out front. Every now and then, one walks by and they are cutting up a hindquarter of beef right on the sidewalk. Occasionally I even see a fresh half of a cow hung from a frame.


I've been told they do it in plain view so passersby can note the high quality of their meat. Still, it's a sight that reminds me I am for sure not back in the US, where the health inspectors would immediately descend like a swarm of angry bees and animal rights activists would stage a protest and burn the shop down. 


IMG_20170121_133055.thumb.jpg.94b90917b21df1814412097a780c4d2c.jpg  IMG_20170121_133055.thumb.jpg.1d364cae4067804a217b603733216696.jpg



The Qing Zhen 清真 restaurant is, as always in China, the one with the green sign. This conveys that the proprietors are Muslim and follow certain religious dietary rules.


As to balance between this strong meat and accompanying vegetables, they suggest eating it straight on its own instead of mixing it with other ingredients. I've had it that way in restaurants with friends and it works fine as long as you have plenty of other vegetable dishes alongside it. That's a more authentic way of using ganba 干巴 than the way I did it here at home when cooking for one.

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Here's the way I usually buy ganba 干巴, in a small chunk that I then shave into slivers 肉丝 at home. Combine with vegetables in a stir-fry, using it sparingly much like I might use cured ham/huotui/火腿。I think of it more as a condiment that as a serious source of protein.



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