Tuesday, January 07, 2014
It's that time of the (new) year again where I would start losing sleep in mild panic. Just three weeks before the Lunar New Year and not long before my mother descends over the straits on me and my currently (rather) dire state of an apartment. With curtains to launder, hoarded mess to tuck away, windows to clean and only-God-knows-how-many other things associated with the annual grand spring cleaning waiting to be done, who has the time to think about elaborate dinners?
This dish though, yet another one using salted eggs - a Hakka staple, would be achievable. I'm sure most of my cooking Chinese readers can do this with their eyes closed. One of my many childhood favorites, I remember never failing to get excited every time my parents made it. It could be the only dish on the dining table for all I care, and I would gladly down lots of rice with it. My version is rather rustic, using only salted eggs and no water. My parents never attempted to make it soft and smooth like regular steamed egg.
For best results, use a good cut of pork with enough fat for flavor and texture. Mincing by hand is better than getting ready ground meat, and those calories burned while you work that cleaver wouldn't hurt. Be sure to use a shallow dish for steaming and the freshest salted duck eggs you can find.
May this simple back to basic concoction bring you some nostalgic memories from home this coming Horse year!
Hakka Salted Egg Steamed Pork (咸蛋蒸猪肉)
Recipe from my mother.
Yield: One dinner plate sized dish enough for 4 to 6.
- 3-4 salted duck eggs, raw
- 500-600 grams pork collar or shoulder, hand minced preferred
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil
- salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- coriander, sliced spring onions for garnish, optional
Once the pork is minced, mix well with the corn starch, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Let stand for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your steaming vessel of choice (I use a wok) with boiling water and a steaming rack. Crack the salted eggs and separate the white from the yolks. With your fingers, gently pinch and break the yolks into smaller pieces.
Lay out the marinated minced pork onto a wide, shallow dish, ensuring even thickness around the plate for even cooking. Pour over the salted egg whites evenly across the dish. Personally I like to leave some parts of the dish pool with more whites for a rustic effect. Divide the broken egg yolks in between the meat, pressing some deep and letting others float on the surface. (If anyone who will be sharing this dish dislikes yolks, leave one section completely free of them and voila, problem solved!)
Steam over medium high heat for 20 to 25 minutes or till pork is cooked. Garnish with a few more drops of sesame oil, spring onions or coriander. Serve over warm steamed rice and extra soy sauce if necessary.
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