so for thanksgiving, i decided to dig up an old family favorite: powder steamed pork ribs. my grandmother makes it with gusto. when she lived in the US, she used to have it at every meal when we visited. after making it myself, i understood why. it’s a dish that you can make ahead in large batches and then re-heat as needed. because it’s steamed, the pork rarely dries out. it tastes as good re-steamed as it does fresh out of the steamer. plus, the prep time is virtually nil when you buy all those pre-packaged mixes! (grandma used to make her version the old fashioned way from scratch, but even she has discovered the convenience of modern mixes).
grandma usually makes her steamed pork ribs in a porcelain bowl, and then just sets the whole thing inside a steamer. for our festive gathering, i decided to steam everything inside a lotus leaf wrapper. the pork ends up taking on a bit of that lotus leaf scent, but really, it’s the dramatic visual effect of the lotus leaf i wanted.
grandma uses pork ribs in her version, and so do i. when i visited sichuan over the summer, the restaurant served up a version made with fatty pork belly, which really wasn’t my cup of tea.
Sichuan Powder Steamed Pork Ribs (粉蒸肉）
||3 lbs, cut into 1 inch cubes (easiest to find these at a Chinese grocery store. I buy the super premium strips and then cut into cubes at home)
|Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Carrots or Pumpkin
||2-3 cups, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
|5-Spiced Zheng Rou Fen (Steamed Pork Powder)
||1 package. See picture above
||2 leaves, soaked overnight
||4 cloves, finely minced
- The night before, soak lotus leaves overnight.
- The “5-Spiced Zheng Rou Fen” package contains 4 items: 2 packages of flavoring spice and 2 packages of a coarse white mealy substance that is the broken rice.
- The night before or at least one hour before, marinate the pork ribs using the 2 packages of the flavoring spice from the “5-Spiced Zheng Rou Fen” box, then add fresh garlic, rice wine and canola oil. Mix everything well and leave in refrigerate to let it marinate.
- When ready to steam, line the bottom of a 10 to 12 inch round steamer with the lotus leaf, letting the edges of the leaf flow over the sides of the steamer.
- Place the sweet potato, carrots, pumpkins or yams on the bottom of the steam, on top of the lotus leaf.
- Sprinkle the rice powder (the other two packages inside the “5-Spiced Zheng Rou Fen” box) on top of the marinated pork. And, pour the pork on top of the sweet potato.
- Fold the lotus leaf edges over to cover the pork.
- Place the lid on the steamer and steam for ~90 minutes, or until the pork and sweet potatoes are tender.
Posted in Pork
Tagged carrots, China, 粉蒸肉, 蒸肉粉, lotus leaf, pork ribs, powder steamed pork ribs, pumpkin, sichuan, sichuanese dishes, sweet potato, szechuan, szechuan food, wrapped, yams, Zheng Rou Fen, Zheng Rou Powder
so . . . i kinda miscalculated the amount of sweet potato a single mutant sized sweet potato would yield (has anyone noticed that they are huuuuuuge this year?), and ended up with a lot of leftovers after i made the filling for my sweet potato tart. it an effort to make some space in my fridge, i stirred a cup of the stuff into a sweet potato bundt cake.
it’s a bit of a dense cake though moist. i decided to lighten things up a bit by whipping up a quick rum glaze.
happy day before turkey day!
Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Rum Icing
(9 inch bundt pan, although the cake will only rise 3/4 of the way up)
||1 stick, @ room temp
||1 ½ tsp
||2 large ones
||1 cup, steamed, peeled, cooled and mashed
- Prepare your sweet potato the day before by steaming it until it is soft, removing the skin and mashing it. Let cool completely. Or you can just buy the canned version.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour bundt pan and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Add egg, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until well-combined on medium speed.
- Turning the speed down to the lowest setting, pour in dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Then, fold in sweet potato with a rubber spatula.
- Pour into pan and bake for ~50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- When ready, let stand for 15-20 minutes, then invert and cool on rack.
- Make glaze when cake is cooling. To do so, pour confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of your standmixer with whisk attachemnt. Then add rum and whisk on medium speed. You may need to add more or less rum to get it to the consistency of something like “egg nog.”
- Pour the glaze over cooled cake. I used the back of a spoon to help spread the glaze around. The cake is ready to eat when the glaze has set.
i had some extra sweet potatoes left over so i decided to transform my sweet potato cheesecake recipe into a tart. i also spied my fall leaf and acorn cookie cutters from the corner of my eye and got the idea to decorate the top of the cart with some leaf and acorn cut-outs. it looks much prettier this way, and hides my well uneven hand in spreading out the sweet potato filling evenly across the pie.
the tart crust and cut-outs are constructed using a basic pâte sucrée recipe that i got from the french culinary institute.
here’s how i did it:
Maple Leaf Crusted Sweet Potato Tart
(makes 1 9-inch tart)
- 1 sweet potato cheesecake filling recipe from sweet potato cheesecake recipe http://wp.me/pCYO5-2v
- About 1/3 + a bit more of the pâte sucrée dough recipe below
- Flour for dusting
- Sugar for sprinkling
- Roll out tart dough over a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick
- Carefully transfer dough to a 9-inch tart ring set over parchment paper. It’s easiest to transfer the dough if you re-roll it up around your rolling pin and then unfurl it
- Brush off excess flower on tart dough with a pastry brush
- Adhere the tart dough to the bottom and against the sides of the tart ring to ensure a tight fit. You want 90 degree angles on the bottom of the tart.
- Pinch off excess dough.
- Transfer to freezer and chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Do not throw away the excess dough. You need it to make the top. Wrap the excess dough in plastic and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Prepare filling as per sweet potato cheesecake recipe
- Spread filling even in tart shell
- Roll out the excess tart dough until 1/4 inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out enough pieces until the top of the tart is covered. I had to re-roll the excess dough several times to cover the top of the tart
- Sprinkle the top of the tart with sugar
- Bake in oven at 350°F for 45 minutes
- Remove from oven and cool
(makes 3 tarts, adapted from french culinary institute)
Cake Flour 500g
Confectioner’s Sugar 125g
- Beat butter using paddle attachment in stand mixer until it is soft and creamy.
- Add sugar to butter mixture and continue to beat until it is light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time into the mixture until well incorporated.
- Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and add cake flour. Beat until the mixture just comes together to form a dough. Do not overbeat, as it encourages the develop of gluten which causes a chewy crust.
- Form the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic.
- Allow dough to rest for at least 2 hours before using. It can stay refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for several months.
sweet potato cheesecake
i baked yet another cheesecake for my cheesecake loving friend Y. it was her birthday and she was saying farewell to her final day of vacation. i thought she deserved a treat. while she loved the matcha cheesecake, she has sadly become lactose intolerant after many years of living in asia. she’s challenged me to make a lactose-free version of cheesecake. given the dearth of lactose-free cream cheese these days and not as yet wanting to venture out into tofu cheesecake land, i set out to make a slightly less lactose-infused cheesecake. the answer: the sweet potato cheesecake, which uses about 1/3 the amount of cream cheese as the normal cheesecake. this cheesecake is less tangy; tastes like autumnal spices! Probably a great cake to capture the essence of Thanksgiving.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
(probably still best served with a Lactaid pill for your lactose intolerant friends, although Y didn’t seem to have any problems digesting this one)
(note: I got less rise out of this cheesecake than the matcha cheesecake. i think to get a cheesecake the fills a 9-inch spring form pan about 3 inches high, you really need to double the filling recipe below).
Sweet Potato 1.5 lbs
Cream Cheese 8 oz @ room temp
Cinnamon 2 tsp
Nutmeg 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Rum 2 tsp
Eggs 2 large ones @ room temp
- Steam sweet potatoes until soft. ~45 minutes Peel off skin and set aside.
- While waiting for sweet potatoes to cool, prepare graham cracker crust as per matcha cheesecake recipe (don’t forget to wrap the pan with foil to prevent water from seaping in, and to place a people of parchment paper inside the paper for easy transfer).
- When the crust has cooled, start preparing the filling as in steps below.
- In a food processor, combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Process until light and smooth
- Add in the sweet potatoes. Process again.
- Add in rum and eggs. Process until they just disappear.
- Transfer filling to the crust filled cake pan.
- Set oven to 325 degrees. Fill a large hotel pan with boiling water and set the cake pan in the center of it.
- Bake until set, about 1 h and 15 minutes.