Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Steamed Meat Pie with Mui Choy

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Meat Pie is a classic dish to serve in the household. The Meat Pie is more literally translated to Meat Cookie though. Like many of my other recipes, this one is also steamed, making it something that can be prepared ahead of time, and then steamed just prior to eating.

Before I go into the actual making of the Meat Pie, there are two ingredients that I'll be using for the first time on this site. The first ingredient is Water Chestnut, and the second is "Mui Choy" (梅菜). Water Chestnut is actually not a nut, but is a vegetable that grows in marshes. The edible part is the corm that stores the food for the plant, allowing it to survive harsh growth environments. In other words, the corm is where all the flavour is as well. What makes the Water Chestnut corm fantastic for cooking is the fact that despite how you cook it, the texture remains crisp!

Mui Choy is a dried and salted mustard-cabbage. Before the advent of modern refrigeration, drying and salting effectively helped preserve food. There are supposed to be two variants of Mui Choy - a sweet and a salty version. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure which kind I have, but my gut feeling says it's the sweet version. Regardless, a step in making ANY Mui Choy dish is to wash the Mui Choy well to remove the excess salt, sand and grit.

Ingredients for Meat Pie with Mui Choy:
  • 2 stalks of green onion
  • 4 water chestnuts
  • 1/4 to 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dark soy (for colour only)
  • 1 heaping tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • vegetable oil
To make the Mui Choy Meat Pie:
  1. Open the package of Mui Choy 梅菜 (because of the inconsistency of naming this ingredient in english, I've included the written chinese name for ease purchasing in an asian supermarket). Wash the Mui Choy with lukewarm water to remove the grit and salt.
  2. Peel the water chestnuts and onion
  3. Finely chop the waterchesnuts, green onion, and onion and place a large deep dish
  4. Add the pork to the large dish as well.
  5. Add the dark soy, soy sauce, sugar, and lightly drizzle 1 tsp of vegetable oil
  6. Use your hands to evenly mix all of the ingredients together. Gently flatten out the meat pie to ensure even cooking throughout.
  7. Prepare a double boiler or steaming apparatus on high-heat. Once the water boils, lower to medium-high heat and steam for approximately 15 minutes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lo Siu Ping On (Tofu and Fish Dish)

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As you can probably tell I've been busy lately and thus unable to update my blog. This next recipe is called "Lo Siu Ping On" or "老少平安" if written, is a traditional Chinese dish. The name of the dish sheds light on the choices of ingredients. "Lo" means elderly; "Siu" means the young; "Ping On" means safe and sound. Thus, the dish is safe and sound for both young and old. Given that the two main ingredients consist of tofu and fish paste, it becomes apparent that the dish is aptly named. The elderly do not have to worry about not having teeth and choking, while the young do not have to worry about removing bones. Hence, both are both safe and sound.

Ingredients:
  • 1 tub of fish paste (~340g) from your local Chinese grocer
  • 1 brick of tofu (~400g) so that you have roughly a 1:1 ratio of fish to tofu
  • 1 link of Chinese sausage
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 stalk of green onion (for texture)
  • 2 Shiitake mushrooms (for colour and texture)
  • several dried prawns (for colour and texture)
  • Salt (a dash later on just for taste)
To make Lo Siu Ping On:
  1. Finely chop the sausage, green onions, Shiitake mushrooms anddried prawns
  2. Place the chopped ingredients into a large bowl and add the fish paste along with a dash of salt
  3. Gently mix the ingredients around using your hands or a pair of chopsticks
  4. Crack the egg into the bowl and gently mix the ingredients slightly again
  5. Throw a dash a salt into the bowl and a tsp of oil.
  6. Add the Tofu to the bowl and mix yet again, breaking up the tofu
  7. Mix the contents to an even consistency and transfer to a deep dish for steaming. Level the mixture without compacting it. This will ensure a consistent cooking time for the entire dish.
  8. Prepare a double boiler or steaming apparatus on high heat. Once the water boils, lower the heat to medium-high and steam for 15 minutes.
  9. After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving