April Fool's Day was just another day. No tricks, only a turn of the weather temperature to chilly cold from yesterday's amazing warm. Mother Nature is free to play all the tricks on me as long as it doesn't bring snow anymore!
It has been some time since I last created an easy and quick recipe. At times I get motivated to do the most complicated recipes and spend time looking into cookbooks but most of the time, I just scramble around the fridge and see what I have and make something out of it. With spring, comes the appetite for something light that feels good in the mouth and yet not too filling on the stomach and of course, the easier to prepare, the better! Or perhaps an excuse to leave some room for that after dinner ice cream that cools down the evening.
Soy bean is a very important ingredient in Chinese cooking. It produces the soy sauce, tofu, soy milk, bean curd threads and wrappers, tempeh, gluten products and recently made into yogurt and even soy butter for those who are lactose and peanut intolerant. Its products are normally used in vegetarian dishes and anyone visiting Hong Kong will surely be able to sample all sorts of varieties of these dishes. Instead of the usual greens and vegetables that we munch daily from the salad bar, eating hot steamed tofu or vegetarian soy dishes may be a better alternative on cold days and provides the ample protein that usually comes from meat and poultry.
I got the idea for this dish from a Dim sum dish which originally is deep fried prior to the steaming to give it a slight crispness, soaked and served in small plates of gravy and usually contain only mushroom and bamboo shoots, which is a vegetarian dish. Although I am willing to forego rice and anything carb, I cannot give up meat and I made a meat dish using the bean curd wrappers.
The bean curd wrappers are only available in Asian stores and is stored in the refrigerator section, which is round and huge in size, measuring perhaps 20 inches in diameter. It comes in a packet of more than 5 sheets and I just freeze the extras in the freezer till further use. I don't think the dehydrated type of bean curd that is stocked on the usual shelves can be used for this recipe, partly because the fresh one is the right size to roll up and contain the meat fillings and soft enough to be rolled up nicely.
The meat filling retains its moisture after the steaming and this dish must be served hot or warm as the bean curd can dry up after a while. The steaming process didn't yield alot of gravy, just enough to be spooned over the dish before serving. I recommend serving this dish with your favorite chilli sauce. The taste is good enough, slightly sweet from the addition of sugar and the oyster flavored sauce and the fact that I skipped the step of deep frying it prior to steaming makes it a healthy and easy dish to make anytime.
350 g(12 oz) minced pork
4 large dried shiitake mushroom, hydrated and sliced into small chunks
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks scallion, separate the white and green part. Cut both parts into slices/chunks
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
3 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp corn flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 and 1/2 bean curd sheet
1) Stir the minced pork to mix thoroughly. Add in sesame oil, cooking wine, soy sauce, pepper, corn flour, sugar and oyster sauce and stir till mixture is all blended and sticky.
2) Scatter the mushroom pieces, white part of scallion, grated ginger and minced garlic onto the meat mixture and mix in with your hands.
3) Cut the bean curd sheet into half, in total of 3 smaller sheets. Using a shallow plate or pan, blanch each of the sheets in hot water for 10 seconds. Remove from water and drench gently for excess water and lay one sheet on the kitchen countertop or chopping board. Wipe a large plate with cooking oil.
4)Work from the bottom edges nearest to you. Spoon the meat filling horizontally across, leaving 2 inches on both sides to enclose the filling. Fold and roll up like a spring roll. Make some cornstarch to seal the edges when finished rolling. Place on the oiled plate and prepare steaming rack and fill pot/wok with water. Continue with the remaining sheets and fillings.
5)Once the steaming water is boiling, place the plate of bean curd rolls into the
steamer and lower the heat to medium and steam for 25 mins.
6)Once done, remove from heat and using a kitchen shears, cut each roll into 6 pieces and arrange on a new plate. Spoon the gravy over the cut rolls, sprinkle & garnish with green scallion and serve immediately with chilli sauce for dipping.
Serves : 2 to 3 persons as side dish