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 served with rice and blanched gai lan

Steamed Pork Hash Recipe

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:
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.

12 Responses to Recreating Another Chinese Household Favorite

  1. hungry dog says:

    My dad used to make something very similar to this, although I don’t think he put turnips in, nor the salted fish. He would often make this as an “extra” dish for a chinese dinner he was trying to fill out with one more dish, I guess because it was so simple to throw together. I think his might have had shitake mushrooms? And guess what we called it…”pork patty”! Sounds cute, right?

    • Ben Ben says:

      Pork patty makes total sense! I should have called it that. The great thing about this dish is you can experiment with various ingredients. My Mom probably avoids mushrooms because it’s a mushy texture. She likes more crunch to complement the pork meat. I remember she sometimes put in pickled vegetables. BTW, the preserved turnips when pulse doesn’t resemble turnips at all. In a way, it’s more like seasoning.

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    A dish that never fails to make me think of my Mom and my childhood. I thought I’d never miss it, but I sure do now that she’s gone. I make it regularly to get my fix — and to think fondly of her.

  3. Rui says:

    Thanks for doing the cooking demo! My gf and I both enjoyed watching it! 🙂

  4. Jenny says:

    Hi, Ben. This brings back memories as my mom would make it. I was a picky eater as a kid, and what I enjoyed was the extra flavor and moistness from the soy sauce and sesame oil. I had completely forgotten about this until your blog post.

    Also, it’s been a while since I watched one of your videos, and I have to tell you that I LOVE the new look of your kitchen! Was this a major remodel or a simple cosmetic one? While your previous kitchen looked very homey and inviting, this new one has a lot of polish. Nicely done.

    • Ben Ben says:

      Thanks Jenny, yes, I did remodel my kitchen last year. It’s been a whole year now. It was more cosmetic because I didn’t want to do major structural changes that would prolong the renovation. It was a major change since my previous kitchen was so tired (homey and inviting it was not LOL but thanks for calling it that!)

  5. sarah says:

    Next time throw some fresh julienned ginger on top — adds a new dimension to the dish — hmmmm! Thanks for the video.

  6. lulu says:

    New follower. Love your blog! I googled for Chile Pie Ice Cream ( recently saw them on Food Channel) and it lead me to your old blog. I specially love simple Chinese recipes like this one. More please!

    • Ben Ben says:

      Welcome Lulu! Let me know if you have any suggestions about Chinese recipes you’d like to see.

  7. Jack says:

    Thanks Ben, that’s really helpful. I’ve been trying to make this dish for a while without much success – I’m going to give it another go. Thanks again!