This casserole relies on the complementary flavors and textures of taro and pork belly: one meaty, the other earthy; one chewy, the other tender.
1¼ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¾ tablespoon chicken powder
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 cups fermented bean curd
a large pot of water to a boil. Submerge the pork belly in the boiling water for 2 minutes to clean it. Remove from the pot and place in a colander. Rinse under cold water.
a siu yuk poker (a needle or skewer works just as well), poke holes in the skin of the pork belly. (This will make the skin crispy after cooking.)
a large bowl, toss the pork belly with the soy sauce to coat.
heat the neutral oil in a large skillet to 350°F over medium-high heat. Add the pork belly and fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
sure your oil is still at 350°F, add the taro (working in batches, if needed) and fry for about 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined tray.
the pork belly is cool enough to handle, cut it into 3-inch strips. Place in a large bowl and mix with the taro.
a small bowl, combine the salt, MSG, sugar, wine, toasted sesame oil, chicken powder, white pepper, five-spice powder, and fermented bean curd. Stir until the bean curd is broken up. Pour over the pork belly and taro mixture and toss until coated.
a heat-safe tray, alternate tiles of pork belly and taro root, tightly packed. You can use multiple trays. Using the steaming method below, steam the trays in batches for 30 minutes, or until tender.
a spatula or your hands, transfer the pork belly to the platter, maintaining the alternating pattern.
Pour the remaining sauce on top and serve.
How to Steam:
Steaming is perhaps what sets dim sum apart from all other dumpling-loving kitchens of the world. We steam everything at Nom Wah in an industrial Vulcan steamer. At home, I recommend steaming in a wok. Steaming times vary depending on the density and size of what you are steaming. But the general setup to steam in a wok is as follows.
Fill the wok with enough water to come up to the lower rim of the steamer but not so much the waterline is above the food bed. Line the bottom of the steamer with paper or a lotus leaf or something so that the fiddly bits won’t fall through the cracks. (If steaming dumplings or bao, you won’t need to line the steamer.) Place whatever needs steaming in the basket, leaving ample room between items. Bring water to boil and steam for the desired duration. If you need more water—water tends to evaporate—add boiling, not cold, water so as not to stop the steaming.
want to DIY it, just use a plate in a pot. All you need is tinfoil and a plate that fits in your pot. Fill a pot with ½ an inch of water. Then make a sort of tripod out of tinfoil by forming three golf ball-sized balls and placing them in the bottom of the pot, making sure their tops rest above the waterline. Rest the plate on the tinfoil, cover, and steam. This method is especially useful when making rice rolls, in which you’ll be using a cake pan instead of the plate.
You can put anything in the steamer as long as it isn’t so small that it would tumble through the holes into the roiling waters below.
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