You know how kids don’t like vegetables growing up, so they mostly eat meat or starch? It’s no wonder that my Mom always fed us a simple, common Chinese dish called ju yook bang, which literally means “pork meat cake.”
I think of it like a pork hash, because it’s basically ground pork mixed with water chestnuts for crunch, and then steamed until it’s like a big flattened meat ball. It’s a very rustic dish, not very pretty, but so filling and tasty, especially when my Mom would add something salty as the topping – either bits of salted fish or salted duck eggs.
We would gobble it up as we ate it with rice and some cooked greens. And today, it’s one of the few Chinese dishes that my nephew and niece would ask my Mom to make whenever she would go over to visit them.
To make it, there are very few ingredients but there’s no getting around some of the specific Chinese ingredients needed, such as the preserved turnips or the dried salty fish. You can only find these in Chinatown or those big Asian grocery stores like Ranch 99. (You could possibly substitute the salted fish with anchovies.)
So here’s my video (above) demonstrating how to pull this all together, and you can follow along with the recipe below. Enjoy!
Steamed Pork Hash Recipe
Makes 4 servings.
1 lb. ground pork, roughly minced
1/2 cup of water chestnuts, finely diced (about 2.5 ounces)
1 T preserved turnips, finely diced
1 T light soy sauce
1/2 T sesame oil
1 t chicken bouillon powder
1 t cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 inch cut of salted fish (or 3 slices of anchovies), chopped into tiny pieces
In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, water chestnuts, preserved turnips, soy sauce, sesame oil, chicken bouillon, cornstarch and water. Make sure all the ingredients are blended together, then pour onto a rimmed plate to steam. Flatten the pork evenly to the edge of the plate. Then sprinkle the top with the bits of salted fish.
Place the plate of pork in a steamer. If you don’t have one, create a steamer using a large pot or wok and placing a metal stand in the center. Steam the pork cake covered over medium heat for about 20 minutes (maybe longer if your pork cake is thick). To check to see if the pork is cooked, stick a knife into the pork cake to see if there are any pinkish pork meat in the center. If there is, cook for a few minutes longer.
When done, remove pot from the heat. Slowly tip the plate to let excess water to drain into the pot. Then carefully remove the plate from the steamer, serving immediately. Eat with steamed rice and braised greens like gai lan.
TIP: My Mom uses a teaspoon of tapioca flour that helps the pork hash be fluffy and light. But if you can’t find tapioca flour, you can use the cornstarch like I did.
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