Sunday, October 6, 2013


These are the absolute quintessence of home-cooking.

Steamed meat patty 蒸猪肉餅 jing chu yiuk beng
Steamed chicken chunks 蒸滑雞 jing gwat kai
Stir-fried mustard green 炒油菜 chaau yau choi
Stir-fried baby bokchoy 炒白菜 chaau pak choi
Steamed omelette 蒸水蛋 jing seui daan

Two or three of these, with rice, and a bowl of either 老火湯 (lou fo tong: old-fire soup), or 西洋菜湯 (sai yeung choi tong: watercress soup), you've got yourself a splendid meal.

[Soup; 湯 tong: most Cantonese home-style soups start with a mixed broth made of pork bones and fresh chicken, with veggies or herbs thrown in for flavor, colour, and nutritive or tonifying benefit. Long simmering (老火) is often key. They are served by themselves or alongside meals to aid digestion and provide liquid, as often beverages are not on the table.]

Take enough ground pork for two people (about one third to half a pound), mix it with a little sesame oil, teaspoon of rice wine or sherry, and a touch of soy, let it stand for a while, then flatten it out onto a plate with ginger slivers strewn over, and steam it till done. Which will be between ten and twenty minutes, depending on the thickness. Often either some sliced dry fish (咸魚 haahm yü), or a salty egg (鹹蛋 haahm daan), or other fragrant savoury additions, are arranged on top, to by their aroma and depth add appeal. But really, you could just add a teaspoon of shrimp-paste to the meat before steaming, and it would be delicious!

Rub a teaspoon or two of corn starch into a half pound of chunked chicken before letting it sit for while to absorb the minor touches of sherry and soy sauce. A little shredded ginger is optional.
It should be steamed for about fifteen minutes, then garnished with minced scallion.
The cornstarch makes it slick (滑) and velvety.

Stirfried mustard green has a delightful bitterness and crunch; blanch it before tossing it in the hot wok. A dash of oyster sauce and a splash of stock to reduce is quite optional.

Stirfried baby bokchoy does not need any blanching, as it will be sweet and toothsome with only a little time in the pan.

Two eggs. Four tablespoons water, or somewhat more. Dash of sesame oil, drop of soy, pinch of ground white pepper. And whatever chopped or rehydrated ingredients you think would be suitable, but don't overdo it, the essence is simplicity. Beat the eggs, water, and whatever else. Pour into a broad bowl, steam for about ten minutes till set.
Some minced chive or cilantro looks lovely on top.

Add few thick slivers of lahp cheung (臘腸), preserved pork belly (臘肉), ham (火腿), or black mushroom, to one or other dish, for a little extra excitement.

Originally posted here: