Monday, February 18, 2013

Woo Tau Kau Yoke (Steamed Pork Belly & Taro)

Stocked with some taro and a piece of pork belly at home, I knew I had to attempt to make "Woo Tau Kau Yoke" (Steamed Pork Belly & Taro). I've had this dish a couple times and remembered mom making it at home too many years ago. It seems like a dish that requires quite a few different steps to achieve the final delicious dish.

I never knew that this is a Hakka dish until after some googling around, I realized that references were made that this dish is of Hakka origin. Anyway,  I decided to use Lily Wai Sek Hong's recipe for the "Woo Tau Kau Yoke" with minor changes. The verdict  - the dish was delicious... tasted almost like how my mom used to make it! Yums! Lily used a pressure cooker to steam the pork; I used the good old steamer and it worked out just great! Here's the recipe of the "Woo Tau Kau Yoke" with my changes:

*Serves 2-3

Ingredients (A)
  • 1/2 lb Pork Belly 
  • 1/2 lb Taro (Cut to the size of the pork belly slab, and cut 7-8 slices)
  • 1 Tsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Flour
  • Oil for deep frying
Sauce Ingredients (B)
  • 2 Shallots, Peeled and Minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1-1/2 Cube of Fermented Red Bean Curd (Nam Yue)
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 2 Tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1-1/2 Cup Water
  • Slurry Mixture (Mixture of 2 Tsp Corn Flour  & 2 Tsp Water)
Boil a pot of water (enough to submerge pork belly). Clean pork belly and par boil the pork for about 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix together dark soy sauce and 5 spice powder from Ingredients A. Remove the boiled pork belly and place in the soy sauce mixture. Coat the pork in the mixture and set aside.

Heat enough oil (medium heat) for deep frying and deep fry taro pieces until slightly golden. Remove and place on paper towel to drain access oil. Then, deep fry pork belly (skin side down) for about 7-8 minutes. Remove and soak pork belly for about 15 minutes in cold water to wash oil oil and regain moisture lost in deep frying. Then remove the pork, pat dry and slice pork into 1/2 inch pieces. 

Place 2 tbsp of corn flour in a bowl, and lightly toss the fried taro in some corn flour; ensuring both sides are coated. Remove the taro pieces and set aside and repeat with the sliced pork belly. Then using a deep dish/bowl, arrange the pork & taro slices, alternating each piece. Ensure that they are packed snuggly in the dish. Set aside. 

Heat wok with 1 Tbsp of oil. Add shallots, garlic and sauté until they are slightly brown. Add in Nam Yue and the rest of the sauce ingredients (B) except the slurry mixture. Let the mixture come to a boil, then stir in the slurry mixture and let the sauce thicken. Pour sauce over the assembled pork and taro dish. 

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in a steamer or a pot to let the pork and taro steam (over medium heat) for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours; until pork and taro are tender. Remember to check the water level of the steamer occasionally and add more hot water if needed. Carefully removed the steamed dish, place a serving platter over it and invert the dish. Be very careful as the dish is hot! Serve immediately with some warm rice.

June's Notes: Alternatively, instead of preparing the pork belly the work and buy a piece of Roasted Pork Belly (Siew Yoke) and cut them to size for this dish! It will taste equally the same, if not better!

I had to go through a couple different bowls to find one the fits perfect so that I can fit the pork and yam snuggly. I ended up arranging the pork and yam in my korean clay pot, covered it with foil and then the clay pot cover before steaming. 


I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013

Simply June 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Brownies....Nuts Optional

A couple weeks ago, the husband and I were invited to a super bowl party. It was a pot luck style, so everyone was welcome to bring something to the party. I decided to make a spinach dip as well as some brownies.

The brownies turned out very moist and pretty good. The original recipe did not ask for nuts or extra chocolate chip, which I added for some extra texture. Here's the recipe for the chocolate brownie adapted from

*Makes a 8x8 pan


  • 6 Oz Semisweet Chocolate Chip
  • 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, at Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Brewed Espresso
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans, Chopped (Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chip (Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (Optional, for dusting)
Preheat oven to 350F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with aluminum foil (or if you use those disposable ones, that would be easier).

Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently until mixture is evenly melted. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso and salt in a large bowl and briefly stir until just evenly incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine. Fold in flour until just incorporated (no white steaks should remain). Gently fold in the optional pecans and additional chocolate chips. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and for about 25-30 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test (Insert a toothpick into the center of the brownies and once it comes out clean; it's ready!). Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting. Dust with optional powdered sugar before serving.

June's Notes: I cut my brownie into a "1- bite" size; and got about 36 "1-bite" size pieces from this batch. 


Simply June 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bak Kwa (Asian Pork Jerky)

Updated Sept 26, 2013

Bak Kwa (Asian Pork Jerky) is a very popular snack during Chinese New Year. In Malaysia, the bak kwa shops will be fully packed with customers lining up and paying quite a bit of money for this delicious seasoned smoked meat, quite similar to the American Beef Jerky.... but so much better and flavorful!

In the US, it's almost impossible to get this snack here and many of us have resorted to making our own bak kwas to satisfy the cravings. I've made this snack many years ago and have not made it for many years. So, I decided to make it this year again and give my friends and neighbors a treat during our Chinese New Year potluck lunch. I must say, the bak kwa was a big hit with our guests. 2 lbs of bak kwas seemed so little and I could have definitely made more.

Knowing that my guests would appreciate this snack, I made it at night the day before (after coming home late from a wonderful dinner at Providence and was quite tired) as I knew there'll be no way I have the time to make it in the morning of our CNY lunch. I was totally right, as I was scrambling the whole morning till my guests arrived. Anyway, I baked the bak kwas the night before and the husband put it on the grill the morning off the party. I'm glad I stayed up and slaved over making bak kwas as it definitely put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces on Sunday! Here's the recipe.


Meat Ingredients
  • 2 Lb Ground Pork (Not too lean - Around 20% fat)
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • A few Dashes of black pepper
  • 1 Tsp 5 Spice Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Glaze Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Water

Preheat oven at 325F. Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat (using a stand mixer; paddle attachment) ingredients until mushy and "gluey". Line baking pans with foil paper (if using foil paper; lightly spray with some baking spray) or oven safe silicon pads; this is for easy cleanup. Scoop about 1/2 Cup of pork mixture and place in the middle of the baking pan (half sheet size). Place a piece of plastic wrap (the size of the baking pan) on top of the meat mixture. With a rolling pin, roll the meat mixture flat until desired thickness then remove the plastic wrap and let the mixture bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The meat will look like a rubber mat once it's cooked. Remove and cut to desired size and repeat the process again until all the meat mixture is used up. Set aside the baked meat.

Mix the glaze ingredients together and lightly glaze the meat before putting them over a charcoal grill for a few seconds and turn them occasionally to give them the smokey bak kwa flavor. Alternatively, you can use a gas grill, or even pan fry it if you do not have a charcoal grill. Please note that the bak kwa will lack a bit of the smokey flavor by doing so.

June's Notes: When rolling the meat mixture, DO NOT roll it out too thin (i.e. until it's almost translucent) as you may have problems removing it from the foil. Use a cake spatula to help remove the cooked bak kwa from the pan. 

As the bak kwa has quite a bit of sugar in it, it will burn easily on the grill. So, it's important to make sure the fire is very low and keep a close eye on the bak kwa to prevent them from being burnt! Let the edges caramelized a little if you want! Gas grill should be ok, but I don't think it will give you the smokey flavor. 


I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013

Simply June 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pineapple Rolls

I finally purchased a grooved rolling pin last year and it surely made my life easier this time when I made the Pineapple Rolls. Why didn't I buy the rolling pin sooner??  =) Anyway, I made a couple batches of these so that I have plenty to send to my brother and to share with our close friends. 

Check out the recipe for the Pineapple Rolls HERE.

Simply June 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Here's wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Simply June 
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