Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Steamed Taro Pork (Hakka Chinese 'Woo Tiu Q Nyuk')

To the Western world, all Chinese people is Chinese. Partly true but there are different ethnicity amongst the Chinese and I am from the Hakka group. As much as I want to interact in the Hakka language, Curry who is Cantonese and absolutely has no patience in picking up any other dialects has made me into a Cantonese speaking human being, and naturally my kids only know their father's dialect.

Recently I have been in contact with friends who are of the same origin as me and although we joke around in typing the Hakka phonics through emails and instant messages, it felt so close to home. This kind of brought back the Hakka side of me, especially in my favorite topic... food!

I have always wanted to make this dish but as with all the older generations of every ethnicity, our grandparents and parents never record the recipes of their cooking and it will be very rare these days to see a youngster of the family standing besides the house cook learning every secrets and ingredients that goes into a dish. So, one is only to accumulate as much info from the older folks by word of mouth before there is no one else left to tell the secrets of all these good food that truly represents one's ancestors and origin.

What seems to be laborious and difficult to my standard when I was a young lass then has actually turned very interesting and achievable now as I have learnt all my way through the wok and spatula for this past 7 years away from my own Hakka family in Malaysia. With observation, determination and a positive attitude, one can make traditions too in a family and I am thankful to my cousin Agnes in Malaysia who helped me gather info on the ingredients for this dish and I am honored to record it for future cooking aficionados of my extended Hakka clan.

I used ordinary pork cuts with minimum fat as I was conscious of the high fat content in pork belly in the original recipe and I couldn't locate one too in my store. The taste is equally authentic as I used the most important ingredient that gives the distinctive flavor to this dish, which was the Chinese Preserved Tofu ('Nam Yue') and also taro, of which in my opinion is very good and slightly sweet in the mouth after it was steamed till soft.

1.5 lbs to 2lbs of pork sirloin (with fat part attached)
5 cubes of Nam Yue

1 medium sized taro, cut into slices and halved (yield about 12 to 16 pieces)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small shallots, minced
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp 5 spice powder
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Lettuce for garnish

1)Poke holes around the pork sirloin and marinate with 3 tbsp dark soy sauce for 1 hour.

2)Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in frying pan on medium heat. Fry the taro and turn for 5 minutes. Lift up and use paper towel to absorb oil on taro surface.

3)Cut the pork sirloin meat into 3 or 4 parts and pan fry in the same pan for 10 minutes, turning sides at 5mins. Take out and let cool before cutting into thinner slices of 1 inch thick(yield up to 12 to 15 slices).

4)Combine the Nam Yue, cooking wine, garlic & shallots, 1 tbsp of black soy sauce & light soy sauce, sugar and 5 spice powder in big bowl. Add in the meat and marinate and coat evenly.
5)Use a medium size bowl to arrange the taro and pork slices alternately and compact. Pour in marinate liquid into bowl. Set up wok and boil water. Once water is ready, turn the heat down to medium.
6)Place bowl of taro and meat in steamer and steam for 1hr 30 mins to 1hr 45 mins (adding more water for steaming along the way), depending on the amount of the meat. Or till the taro is soft enough and the meat is tender and breaks off easily when touched.
7)Let sit in the same bowl for 10 minutes. Arrange the lettuce in another bowl or high rimmed plate. Take the lettuce plate or bowl and turn around and put on top of the taro and meat bowl.
8)Turn the taro and meat bowl upside down so that the contents are now in the lettuce bowl/plate. Slowly release and the contents will stay compact and arranged.

Serves: 4 persons


Agnes said...

I can taste of the yam already... Just that the colour was not dark enough but it looks so tempting!!!

Anonymous said...

we have this here in a chinese restaurant in vienna and it's just wonderful. thank for the recipe!!!!!

Lentulus said...

Thanks for the recipe. The instructions are perfect, and the short cuts much appreciated. My SO, who's pretty picky about these things, raved on and on about how good this dish tasted.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking high and low for this recipe. I am a Hakka from Malaysia, now residing in Seattle. Thank you for the recipe.