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mcohen

Steamed pork ribs in lotus

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Which region would the dish of steamed pork ribs in lotus leaf come from?

I'm trying to identify the regionality of the dish to try to see where its from so as to know if you're supposed to use soybean paste or broadbean paste to make it.

I've found two recipes that seem to be about making the dish- steamed pork ribs covered in rice powder. But the first recipe used broadbean paste while the latter used soybean paste.

http://www.holyshitake.com/archives/2004/11/steamed_ribs_in_rice_powder_with_sweet_potato.html

http://www.nicolemones.com/pork-ribs-in-lotus-leaf.html

Anybody else have any more tips or recipes on how to make this dish?

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I believe the version with soybean paste is from Shandong in the NE, whereas the broad bean version would be more typical of the south - Sichuan in particular.

I've had a quick Google around in Chinese and the results seems to bear this out.

That said, like many "regional" dishes, this is now pretty much available all across China and cooks will use what's to hand - or to their preference.

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That's absolutely correct, as far as I know. And it so happens that I just prepared a Beijing version this last week using duck and sweet wheat paste (tianmianjiang) that was great. Pork certainly could be used instead of duck, as the luscious yet gentle sweetness goes with both quite well.

Those of you who read Chinese will wonder why it is called "mifen" (rice powder) instead of "fenzheng" (steaming powder); that's just northern vs. southern terminology. (Mifen in the south usually refers to rice noodles.)

duck8.gif

Steamed lotus duck with rice crumbs -- 荷葉米粉鴨 Heye mifen ya

Serves 16 as an appetizer or 8 as one of the entrees

Wrappers:

2 large dried lotus leaves

Rice crumbs:

½ cup regular raw rice (not sweet or glutinous)

2 petals of star anise

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

(or ½ cup commercial rice crumbs)

Filling:

1 whole duck breast (two halves) with skin on, preferably organic and free range

1 tablespoon minced, peeled ginger

2 tablespoons minced green onions

1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons sweet wheat paste (tianmianjiang)

2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

4 large fresh Chinese black mushrooms

Garnish:

Chinese radish (or Japanese daikon) sprouts, or cilantro sprigs, or green onion shreds

1. Soak the lotus leaves in a large bowl of very hot water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. When they are soft, rinse them carefully to remove any dust, and then wipe them clean on both sides with a paper towel. Trim off the center stem and then cut each leaf into 8 wedges. Cover the leaves with a damp towel to keep them supple.

2. If you are using commercial rice crumbs, skip this step. Otherwise, place the dry, uncooked rice in a dry, unoiled wok along with the star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. Cook the rice over medium-high heat, tossing constantly, until the grains turn from translucent to white and then very slightly toasted. Cool the rice and then grind it coarsely).

3. Rinse the duck breast and pat it dry. If it is not boneless, remove the bones, but keep the skin on. Slice each side of the breast horizontally (against the grain) into 8 even pieces. Place the duck slices in a medium work bowl.

4. Add the ginger, green onions, black pepper, rice wine, soy sauce, sweet wheat paste, sesame oil, and sugar to the duck. Toss them together. Remove the stems from the cleaned mushrooms and slice each mushroom into ¼ inch wide strips. Add them to the duck and toss again. Pour the rice crumbs over the duck mixture and toss again.

5. Prepare 16 plain toothpicks and a steamer. Lay the 16 lotus leaf wedges out on a clean work surface, the wide side facing you; the smooth green side should be face down and the rougher lighter side on top. Divide the filling among these leaf wedges, placing a mound near the wide end. Fold the bottom third of the sides over the filling and then roll up the leaf all the way to the filling; secure with a plain toothpick.

6. Place the little packets in the steamer and steam over medium-high heat for about half an hour. Remove one and check; the rice crumbs should be soft and completely cooked through. If not, close up the packet and steam the duck for another 10 or 15 minutes. (This dish may be prepare up to this point, cooled, and then stored in a resealable freezer bag in either the refrigerator or freezer. To serve, simply steam them until heated all the way through.)

7. To serve, you may replace the plain toothpicks with fancy ones. Arrange the packets on a serving platter or individual plates, and garnish as desired. Show your guests how to eat them by unrolling one wrap completely onto a small plate and then rolling up the leaf back up and tucking it at the side of the plate out of the way. Pieces of the duck filling can then be plucked up with chopsticks or a fork by the diner.

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