Have you ever had a craving that needs to be satisfied like immediately? I had one of those earlier this week. It’s a dish my mom used to make with ground pork and Tianjian preserved vegetable, it’s so moorish. I call this dish ‘Chinese steamed meatloaf’ because it’s a similar concept to meatloaf: densely packed meat.
Steamed Chinese meatloaf and rapini is such an easy, weeknight dinner!
Both cooked in my wok using three different methods, steaming, parboiling and frying.
Apart from minced pork, Tianjian preserved vegetables and rapini, I always have garlic and ginger, scallions and my handy caddy basket with seasonings and oil for stir frying. This dinner came together quickly. Always prep everything prior to turning on wok and stove!
I usually use ground turkey but fancied pork for a change. The butcher ground about a pound of pork butt fresh for me. I “seasoned” the minced pork with my usual TSPC: tamari, sherry, pepper and cornstarch, then sprinkled 1/2 of shredded ginger on top. My blue and white ‘fish’ motif dish was a perfect steaming dish and can be found at Asian markets. A coup dish is good too.
Tianjian preserved vegetable comes in a lovely ceramic jar. You can recycle those jars to use as a vase or pen holder, I love them. If you aren’t able to get Tianjian preserved vegetable or don’t want to use it, the “seasoned” pork on its own will still taste SUPERB.
Cooking is about making your own rules and having FUN and that’s what Wok Stars do!
When you open the jar, PONG! it’s strong smelling cause it comes from the you guessed it, cabbage family! It’s chopped up already and preserved with salt, so rinse in a little tap water to get rid of some of the salt, then drain well. Because I don’t measure, I used just enough vegetable so you get a bite in each mouthful but not too much! Use chopsticks or a fork to fold the vegetable gently into the pork, the pork should be chunky and intact, not mushy.
Rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) has a slight tang like Chinese broccoli and complemented the steamed meatloaf perfectly. When chopping bottom of the stems, I noticed they were a bit pithy, so parboiling rather than stir frying would make them more tender. This is a good example of my thought process and how it determines what cooking method I use. It’s also one of the reasons why you should not just follow a recipe blindly because if an ingredient doesn’t look good, you should substitute it and not feel like you cannot make the recipe!
Boil a wokful of water till bubbling, squeeze in a few drops of oil to prevent rapini going grey. If you have a lot of mouths to feed, parboil rapini in several batches. I only did one batch and kept rest in fridge. Parboil rapini till a little wilted, test for doneness the way you like to have it, then drain. Place on plate and keep warm. Return wok to stove, wipe very dry. Heat your wok, then add 4-5 swirls of oil into wok and quickly fry squished garlic and rest of shredded ginger. Fry & swish around with spatula till slightly golden. Don’t burn them otherwise they become bitter. Pour this goodness all over the rapini. This dish is DONE.
Yes, another great use of a wok is steaming. My mom showed me how to use wood chopsticks and lay them across the wok as a platform to steam the plate of minced pork and then put the wok lid on, such a clever idea! No steamer rack necessary and the plate used for steaming goes straight to the table. So, make sure you use a plate that’s big enough to spread the pork and has a little dip to it, cause there’ll be a little sauce from the steaming and seasoning, yummy.
Note: I got this tip from one of my favorite Wok Stars: Dr. Maritza Paz. Do NOT use disposable wood chopsticks which are not sturdy so they bend and she nearly lost her dish of food! Melamine chopsticks are O.K.
Sprinkle chopped scallions right before serving. Slice the Chinese meatloaf into wedges and eat with rapini. Notice we didn’t have any rice with this dish and we didn’t miss it, yummy.
Wok 3 ways is another illustration of the versatility of a wok, don’t waste it by using it just for stir frying! Please share ingenious ways you’re cooking in your wok in comments below!