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I'm at my parents' home and have not had steamed beef cake, or ngau yuk beng, in ages. I'm going to ask my mom how to make it. What do you like to top your ngau yuk beng with before steaming it?

My mom likes to put some kinda preserved vegetable on it (don't know what it's called in Chinese), along with some reconstituted dried mushrooms. I think she takes a piece of beef and hand chops it to the desired consistency necessary for yuk beng. You think running it through a food processor lightly would give the same results?

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The texture of the meat patty will be different depending on whether you buy lean ground chuck or sirloin at the market, hand chop the meat or use a food processor. The preserved veg. that your mother uses is a salted preserved vegetable root and is called "choong choy". You may also use "Jah choy", the roundish knobby roots that come in a can and is all covered with a red chili powder. This is sometimes called Szechuan vegetable. Both are delicious in yook beng.

1/2 pound ground meat, 20% by volume of thinly sliced preserved veg. of either kind, a dash of thin soy, half teaspoon of cornstarch, mix well, pat out into a shallow dish, steam till done. You "may" want to add a couple of drops of sesame oil to it at the finish.

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I usually buy lean ground beef at the store, mix with a tbsp. oil and 1 tbsp of cornstarch because the meat is too lean. If I don't add the oil and starch, it does not have that smooth soft texture - rather, it is "rough/sope in Toisanese". I mix it all together vigorously and dump into a dish, but I don't pat it down as it tends to be too "compacted". I may spread it out over the dish with my chopsticks creating ridges and small craters to hold any liquids resulting from the steaming.

To top the meat, I sometimes use, as Ben mentioned, Szechuan vegetable or jah choi, mui choi with ginger slivers, chili slivers, and fresh mint leaves, or ham choi (the root veg that Ben calls choong choi?).

For pork, I may use the same toppings as above, or with Chinese mushrooms and lap cheong.

I'd like to hear what your Mom uses, Toisangirl. Please post the results. :smile:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Hmm...never had it with beef before. I generally use (hand-chopped) pork with water chestnuts and duck liver laap cherng, dash in a little dark soy, sesame oil, and cornstarch, and top with sliced ginger. I generally just fold in the condiments while chopping, and transfer the entire thing directly from the chopping board to the dish.

My dad used to make two versions: one with dried duck liver (until they stopped selling it so he reverted to the laap cherng), and another with ham. I haven't tried the latter yet. I think we tried doing it in the food processor once, and it was disasterous. We probably let it go too long, so we never tried again. I find it very soothing hand chopping, so I prefer it that way.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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My mom made this dish for dinner and it is just as good as I remembered it. She bought a piece of top round steak--a lean and cheaper cut of beef that she hand-chopped with her cleaver until she got the right consistency.

I don't have exact measurements, but to the meat she added soy sauce, a bit of sesame oil, some pepper, a bit of salt, some Chinese cooking wine, and bit of sugar. She also added cornstarch, more than what you would normally think to use when you're marinating meat for Chinese cooking. Not sure why exactly, but something about how when the beef is steamed, there ends up being a lot of liquid. Maybe the cornstarch soaks it up???

Then she spread the meat in a glass plate, but it wasn't too packed in. She topped it with some slivered jah choy (preserved Chinese vegetable, I think it's a turnip or radish) and slivered ginger. I don't know what it is with my mom and sugar in Chinese cooking, but she also sprinkled a tad bit more over the meat, then steamed it for about 15-20 minutes. I guess she prefers her food to be more sweet than salty. Once it's done, you can enjoy it as is, but recently, she's taken to sprinkling some chopped cilantro and green onion over the top once it's steamed. It's really good with rice!

Alas, my mom also made some "goh lai" for us kids to drink. Some bitter-tasting root that's simmered with chicken stock or something to that effect. We had to drink a lot of it growing up, and now that we're all back for the holidays, she brewed another pot for us!

Right now, my mom is busy making sour pickled pigs feet with eggs and peanuts--the stuff ladies normally have after having a baby, but it's good anytime of the year!

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She also added cornstarch, more than what you would normally think to use when you're marinating meat for Chinese cooking. Not sure why exactly, but something about how when the beef is steamed, there ends up being a lot of liquid. Maybe the cornstarch soaks it up???

Alas, my mom also made some "goh lai" for us kids to drink. Some bitter-tasting root that's simmered with chicken stock or something to that effect. We had to drink a lot of it growing up, and now that we're all back for the holidays, she brewed another pot for us!

Right now, my mom is busy making sour pickled pigs feet with eggs and peanuts--the stuff ladies normally have after having a baby, but it's good anytime of the year!

The cornstarch gives the meat a smooth velvety texture. You would really notice the difference if she didn't add it - the meat would be "hard" on the tongue. I like lots of jup/liquid from this dish as it is like you said" It's really good with rice!"

Remember to not eat root vegetables for 48 hours after drinking goh lai tong. I find the taste very cooling on the tongue and throat.

Yum! Trotters in vinegar, eggs and peanuts. You've got a good mummy!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Alas, my mom also made some "goh lai" for us kids to drink. Some bitter-tasting root that's simmered with chicken stock or something to that effect. We had to drink a lot of it growing up, and now that we're all back for the holidays, she brewed another pot for us!

"Goh Lai" reminds me when i was kid,my grandmom would make the potion ,and it was sheer torture trying to gulp it.... ,thankfully it was only a yearly ritual...which also reminds me that my grand mom used to add sugar to almost evrything she made,whereas my mom also adds sugar but not as much and not on all dishes....

Ben Sook:Never realised it was ginseng,cause when we had it it would almost be brownish/black in colour

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Can't help you with Chinese characters, I will give a little etymological background.

In Chinese (my Toisaan dialect) Korea is ChoSun (formally), but most people in common conversation would call Korea by the our regional dialect, Koh lai, which indeed sounds like Korea.

There are two types of ginseng, the type originating from Korea (Koh Lai Tam) and the wild type from the US which is called "fah kei tam". Most Cantonese speakers would instantly recognize "fah kei" (flowery or colourful flag) as the colloquialism for the USA. "Tam" means tonic or beneficial root, I believe.

Having spouted all that, I am not 100% sure that we are talking about ginseng - just my calculated and measured inference from toysangirl's posted question.

The dark coloured stuff mentioned is the Korean variety, panax ginseng, which has been steamed, aged and dried. The American variety is normally just dried, so it is the "normal" light brown or golden coloured stuff one would commonly see. The American variety is panax cinquefolius, slightly different and is commercially grown extensively in BC, Ontario, Washington, Michigan and Oregon, etc. and hence is very affordable and available.

Ginseng does not mean tonic to me but a huge headache for in my previous incarnation, I was consultant to one of the largest Ginseng companies in world and one of my projects almost brought down the local provincial government. Wheeewwww. :shock::blink::wacko:

Edited by Ben Hong (log)
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um for the ignorant, any chinese character to assist? the name you posted sounds like some dialect. or cantonese or something.

The Chinese characters for "goh lai" are:

高麗

which is the translation for Korea (the older translation). The Korean ginseng is:

高麗參

which in Cantonese sounds "goh lai sum". Perhaps in Toisan dialect people just drop the "sum" or "tam" part when referring to the Korean ginseng? The description of the soup does sound like Korean ginseng.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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