Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Steamed Chinese Meat Cake

Recorded from memory December 11, 2013. Not often encountered in Chinese restaurants in the US, steaming is widely used by home cooks in China. DrDaddy first prepared this dish in Seattle in 1968, following a simple cookbook, now lost. Reminder: save and dry the skin from your next tangerine.
1 lb pork shoulder
small can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
1 T dry tangerine skin, soaked, pith removed, and finely chopped
1/4 c chopped pickled vegetable (cabbage, mustard, salt turnip, or the like)
1 t garlic, minced
2 T corn starch
2 T soy sauce
1 t dark sesame oil
Cut meat into large cubes and freeze 30 minutes. With a heavy cleaver on a cutting board or with a food processor chop the meat until it is coarsely but completely minced. Put meat in a shallow bowl, and mix in the other ingredients, and press into a compact cake that fills the bottom of the bowl. Cut down with a knife to form six wedge-shaped slices to make it easier to serve. Place the bowl in a steamer for 20 to 30 minutes until done. Use a pot with a steamer insert or a bamboo steamer in a wok. Cut into serving pieces and top each serving with pan juice. Serves six as part of a Chinese meal.

Batter Fried Smelt

Batter-Fried Smelt on Newsprint
Prepared December 10, 2013. DrDaddy fondly recalls frying up an abundance of smelt that crowded Michigan rivers in the spring spawn. No limit on the catch. This fileting, breading, and frying method yields a product similar to tempura-fried fish.
1/2 lb fresh dressed smelt (about six)
3/4 c all-purpose flour (a low-protein flour such as White Lily® is preferred)
1 egg
1/4 c milk
2 T kosher salt, divided
vegetable oil for frying
Carefully clean each fish under cold running water, and soak in a brine of 1 T kosher salt in a quart of cold water for 15 minutes. To debone the fish, beginning from the tail end, work your thumbs on both sides under the spine, working forward to free it from the fish. Heat a 1/4 inch (6 mm) of oil in a heavy 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium high to 380 degrees F (195 C). Beat the egg in a small bowl and stir in the milk. Put the flour and 1 T salt in a 1 gallon (4 liter) plastic bag, and dredge three fish in the flour, then in the egg wash, back into the flour, and then into hot oil, skin side down. Fry about two minutes until lightly browned and turn to cook the other side, also about 2 minutes. Remove to newsprint, brown paper, or paper towels to drain. Salt lightly at once. Repeat for the second batch adding oil as needed and preheating as before. Serves two. Add quick home fries and turnip greens to make a complete meal.