A while back, a friend sent me this link to Charles Phan making his go-to meal. I watched it, and that dish brought me back to my grandma's home cooking. For a short period of time, right after college, I lived with my mom's parents while living in Taiwan, and my Wai Po created some fabulously tasty meals using simple ingredients and simple tools. Her kitchen was small, definitely a one butt kitchen. No fancy cookware, and just a tiny refrigerator. Shopping was done each morning, buying from street vendors from the neighborhood. There was a corner shop, a 7-11, but definitely no super market nearby. Though really not all that long ago, the scenery has changed enormously. My Wai Po worked magic on whatever she bought. It was not fancy, but it was delicious.
Phan's dish is right up my alley. The salted fish appeals to me because I love anchovies. My family does not. So, here's my version.
1/2 Pound pork shoulder, finely chopped with a cleaver or use ground pork
4 Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until soft, stems removed and finely chopped
3 Tbsp liquid reserved from the shiitake mushrooms
1 Shallot finely chopped
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
Combine all of the above ingredients and mix well. Place into a heat-proof dish.
2 egg yolks
1" piece of ginger, julienned
grape seed oil
Make a little well in the middle and drop the egg yolks in the middle. Sprinkle the ginger all around. Drizzle the top with a little bit of the grape seed oil.
To steam the pork use either a bamboo steamer with a large wok, or just a large wok with an inverted dish or metal stand set inside. Fill the wok with several cups of water, and bring to a gentle boil.
Steam the pork for 10-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Timing depends on how thick the ground pork is. If you are using a deeper bowl with less surface area, it will take longer to cook. A flatter bowl with more surface area, less time to cook.
Serve with rice and some wok fried greens. I made a white rice with fresh green peas and tomato. I cooked the rice, then stirred in the peas and put some chopped tomato on top. For the greens, I wok fried some choy sum.