If you’re a foodie who has seen Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, then, you probably felt the urge to lick your TV screen several times while watching the film especially during the first 15 minutes. Those first 15 minutes show a father preparing Sunday dinner for his family that consists of his three grown daughters and himself. That’s the dinner in the photo above but it doesn’t show the dumplings and the roast duck. A feast, really.
In the movie, the father is a chef who works (semi-retired) in a huge restaurant in a hotel. Chef or not, whether one person — with no help — can cook all that within a day is something I find incredible.
But then, it’s a movie, it’s fiction, so, the only real point was to focus on the story and enjoy the visuals. Which I did. So much that I was inspired to re-create one of the dishes from that Sunday dinner — the steamed pork dish near the upper left corner of the photo.
In the movie, slabs of marinated pork belly were deep fried, dumped in iced water then sliced thinly. The thin slices of pork were then arranged in a bowl then steamed. The steamed pork slices which had taken the shape of the bowl were inverted onto a plate and the sauce from the bowl was boiled until thick then poured over the meat.
Too much work for a home cook like me. So my version was simpler. And faster — I used the pressure cooker.
Why steam when the pork is already cooked? The texture of the pork before and after steaming is just so different, the flavors of the pork and mushrooms come together, the pork fat melts some more and turn gelatinous… No proper words — just good, period.
Recipe: Steamed pork and black mushrooms
- a slab of boneless pork belly, about 500 g.
- 4 tbsps. of cooking oil
- a generous splash of Chinese cooking wine
- 4 tbsps. of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. of chili garlic sauce
- pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp. of hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsps. of oyster sauce
- 1 c. of broth, preferably homemade
- 4 black (shiitake) mushrooms, caps only, thinly sliced
- about 1 and 1/2 c. of cooked rice
- blanched bok choy
- toasted sesame seeds
- Rinse then wipe the pork belly dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat the cooking oil in the pressure cooker.
- Brown the pork in the hot oil, turning it over and sideways to make sure that every inch of the surface gets a chance to brown in the hot oil.
- Pour in the wine. Allow to boil for a few minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, pepper, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and broth. Stir. Snap on the lid and cook for 30 minutes counting from the moment the valve starts to turn. If not using a pressure cooking, it’ll take about an hour or so to cook the pork and you will mostly likely need more than a cup of broth.
- Lift the pork from the cooking liquid. Cool for about 15 minutes then slice as thinly as you can.
- Boil the cooking liquid until reduced and thickened. Optionally, you can disperse a teaspoonful of tapioca or corn starch in water and add the solution to the cooking liquid to thicken it.
- Arrange the pork slices at the bottom and sides of two to three heatproof bowls. Divide the sliced mushrooms among the bowls. Fill the bowls with enough rice to reach the brim. Press in the rice as much as you can to make everything compact. Steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Invert the bowl onto plates. Arrange the blanched bok choy on the side. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with the reduced cooking liquid on the side.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 3