Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nuo Mi Juan: Steamed Bread with Fried Rice: There are Oversized Maggots in my Steamer

I have no idea how these were supposed to look because I'd never heard of them and apparently neither has Google.  I'm more accustomed to having this kind of dough in bun form, but it was an adventure to make into loaves as well.

The dough itself is soft, sweet and shiny after steaming.  The filling is sticky rice fried with seasoned pork, dried shrimp, scallions and soy sauce.

This recipe sent me outside of my normal food zone to find the dried shrimp.  I hadn't actually been to an Asian market around Providence yet, which is odd because I love them so.  I guess that's an indication of how boring my cooking has gotten over the past year and a half.  I went to Asiana in East Providence over my lunch break; it has a substantial selection for such a small building but is a little pricey.

Dried shrimp is one of those ingredients that seems like it's going to be disgusting by itself - like anchovies or fish sauce - but makes anything around it taste better.  If I looked for it I could detect a fishy flavor.  

I did not attempt to find la chang, the traditional Chinese sausage, mainly because I wanted to use naturally-raised meat without preservatives.  I made a substitute with 1.5 lb ground pork, 28g sugar, 12g soy sauce, 10g rice wine, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 20 drops of liquid smoke.  I'm sure the texture wasn't anywhere near authentic, and I don't even know what it was supposed to taste like, but Stephen loved it.

And yes, they really do look like adorable oversized maggots.  Only delicious.

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