1950's Old Style Chinese Steamed Pork (Hom Yu)
- Mochi Oct 3, 2005 06:17 PM
Anyone remember the steamed pork that was served back in the l950's at Chinese restaurants Far East Cafe in Japan Town in Los Angeles or Tin Sing in Gardena? It was softer and didn't have the stinky fish (the actual hom yu) on top. It had a distint flavor that I don't find in steamed pork with hom yu these days at most Chinese restaurants. Any one know what they might have put in it to make it taste so good?
Thanks in advance, it's a nostalgia thing for me. Also, it's flavor was very distinct and I don't ever taste it any other dish these days.
Thank you for the idea of salted duck eggs. I have a feeling it did not have them in it because I think the recipe was quite humble and simple. I imagine the salted duck eggs are quite a delicacy. I am curious about the dish with ducks eggs and will try to make it soon.
Thanks for you advice.
Can't comment on the ones served at restaurants, but here's how we make it at home:
Rice wine (optional)
A little water (a tablespoon or so)
Put the mixture in a shallow place and put hom yu and/or salted duck egg on top. If using hom yu, also place some shredded ginger and oil on top of it. Steam till done. The steaming time will have to depend on how thick the meat is. You'll probably need to do some trial run on that.
The following are sometimes added to the meat:
Perserved vegetables (various types)
Rehydrated shittake mushroom, diced
Water chestnuts, diced
Dried mandarin peels
Egg (chicken), scrambled
A word about the ground pork: The best texture comes from making the ground pork at home. Instead of putting it through a grinder, cut the pork into small pieces then run the cleaver over them until you get the texture of sausage meat.
If the foregoing recipe is what you remember, it seems to me to bear a very strong resemblance (heck, it's identical) to three other familiar things:
(1) Basic wonton/dumpling filling,
(2) The meatball inside a Vietnamese steamed bao,
(3) The dish I just "discovered" last week: meatballs like this, served over rice, with a basic white (chicken-broth) Chinese sauce (yum!)
Thanks for the recipe, I will try it. I made some last night, but, instead of using rice wine I used shao shing (sp) wine. I also added salt and white pepper, lop chong, shrimp paste and water chestnuts. It didn't taste the way I remember it. But, I'll try it the way you make it, it sounds like it would taste more of the way I remember, very simple and delicious!
Not knowing the exact taste you are referring to, I could guess that some old timers used to add chopped liver lop cheung (liver chinese sausage) to the minced meat. I like the taste but my kids hate liver of any kind. Perhaps you can try it. I also think that chopped water chestnut is really important for this dish as it prevents the patty from becoming heavy and dense after steaming.
Hello, Thank you so much for your advice. I've previously made it with lop cheung and it was quite delicious! But, it was not the same as the one I've been trying to re-make from childhood memories. Yes, I do think it did have the water chestnuts. They do make it nice and soft. The recipe that I've come up with so far is:
Coarsly ground pork from Boston Butt
Salted Fish (Hom Yu) that is mashed up
Fine cut up ginger (?)
2 T cornstarch
1 t salt
1 t sugar
water chestnut, coarsly ground
Chinese Rice wine
Mix together and steam for 20 minutes.
It's not a complex dish, I recall it being rather simple, humble, but with great flavor.
We'll see if it does the trick!
Are you sure the salted fish wasn't mashed up and mixed into the minced pork? That style of pork beng was more common when hom yu was rarer and more expensive. Plus the taste is much lighter than a solid piece of fish.
Another possibility, and I'm going out on a limb on this, is that what you remember isn't hom yu but hom ma, fermented shrimp paste. A little bit goes a long way and it has a different, but still very salty and briny taste.
Thanks so much for the idea of smashing up the hom yu into the pork mixture. Previously, I was planning to do just that but could not find any hom yu at the store but I did find the shrimp paste. So, I did add the shrimp paste, but it was not the same. I'll have to look for the hom yu, I thought it might be a dried fish item, but could it possibly come in a jar in oil?
Thanks for your advice.
I hope you're still interested in a Homyu recipe. I think that the ingredient that gives it that unique flavor is a chinese wet bean curd called Fu Yu or Fun Yu. Until a few years ago there was one specific brand my mother used, but it can't be found anymore and unfortunately there are many brands out there that aren't as good. Anyway, here's my recipe:
1/2 lg grund pork
1/2 lb ground pork fat
2 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp salt (slightly less)
2 TBS cornstarch1 - 11/2 cubes Fun Yu squares
Mix all ingredients except conrstarch. Once mixed, mix in cornstarch
Form into 9 patties
Steam 18-20 minutes
"I think that the ingredient that gives it that unique flavor is a chinese wet bean curd called Fu Yu or Fun Yu. Until a few years ago there was one specific brand my mother used, but it can't be found anymore"
Was it the Quon or Quong Hop fuun-yu brand?
I have not seen this in years. Major bummer. I miss it too.
Oh the days of yore.
I don't recall the name, but I think the label was gold foil with red writing. Does that sound like the Fu Yu you were thinking about? If you find anything close, please let me know. I have purchased different jars of what I thought was fu-yu but ended up tossing them because the flavor was just not right.
I've been reading about all the hom yuk recipes. I go way back to Far East, San Kwo Lo, Man Fuk Low, Gen. Lees, Tin Sings, PK's, Etc. The true unique flavor of good hom yuk, forget the stinky fish, is the Foon Yu (sp ???) Any recipe without it is not going to taste right. Plus, you need lots of pork fat and people don't cook that way anymore. Too bad. Thats what make hom yuk taste sooooo good. I'm going to try your recipe. Sounds good. Also, you can still get decent hom yuk at Fu Shings in Torrance/Gardena and at least a few months ago, Pauls Kitchen on San Pedro. Neither have the stinky fish and are lean, but have decent taste considering they probably cut the fat in half. At least they satisfy my craving.
The missing ingredient was Fu Yu (a type of fermented tofu) 2-3 pieces from the bottle. remember to seal the bottle with saran wrap and tight lid. The smell is outrageous but when cooked its da best. Don't use ground pork. lean boston butt and equal amounts of pork fat, all chopped to small size. 2Tbs corn starch, 1Tbs tapioca starch. Garlic, salt, & ajinomoto to taste. Make into 3" x 1" patties and steam with ham yu on top if you like. This was from Far East Café