Friday, August 19, 2011

Khau Yoke Recipe (Pork Belly Cooked with Taro) 客家芋头扣肉

If you like this dish and have not try making it before, give it a try!  It is actually easier than you think as I found out from my first ever attempt.

After steaming for 3 hours, my end product is a melt in your mouth pork with creamy yam.  Having say that, I could have made it with more gravy/source and maybe add a few more spices for a richer taste.  But overall, I have no complain and were happy with it.

The basic steps in cooking Hakka Khau Yoke (Pork Belly Cooked with Taro) in sequence are:
  1. Blanching (2-3 minutes)
  2. Marinating (30 minutes)
  3. Frying (15 min, give or take)
  4. Making steaming sauce (10 minutes)
  5. Sandwiching yam and pork (10 minutes)
  6. Steaming ( ideally 3 hours - you don't have to do anything)
Don't be fool by the long hours needed, the active kitchen time is around 20-30 minutes. You are going to have a lot of idle time during marinating and steaming.

Ingredients are simple and you don't have to buy any special, hard to find spices.  Basically you need the following (serves 3-4 person)

Core ingredients
  1. 300g strip of Pork belly (五花肉或三层肉) ideally about 5-7 cm in width which will then cut cross section to slices. 
  2. Yam (taro) - medium size
  3. Nam Yue (preserved red beancurd) - 1 1/2 cub
For Marinating Pork Belly
Coat/rub the pork belly with the following
  • Dark soy sauce - 1/2-1 tbs
  • Chinese 5 spices - 2 tsp
Making steaming sauce
This will be the sauce to pour over the pork belly and yam for steaming

  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup water (add more water if you prefer more sauce)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • dash of pepper
  • pinch of Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Shao Hsing Wine
  • 1/2 cube nam yue 
  • 1/2 tsp thick soy sauce
Things I learned
  • The steaming sauce is very important, it enhanced the overall package of yam and the pork belly, and yes, it make a super tasting gravy with white rice. May be next time I would consider adding others flavourings agents like five spice powder, pepper, onion, ginger, oyster sauce, fish sauce , sesame oil, shao hsing wine (I do not use this since this is my 1st time)
  • There was another version that fried all the flavoring ingredients and  coat them on the pork belly (after deep frying) and yam before steaming.  I believe this method may produce a stronger tasting dish!
  • Very useful tips on how to handle the yam, the pork belly and the selection of dish for steaming is here.

Marinate Pork Belly after blanching for 30 minutes
Slice and fried yam into sizes
to match with the pork belly

Slicing pork belly after deep frying. 
Don't worry if still uncooked for now

Arranging yam and pork belly for steaming
(3 hours for maximum tenderness)

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