Steamed Pork Belly with Rice Powder (米粉肉)
December 31, 2022  Print
One of my favorite dishes as a child was my grandmother’s steamed pork belly with rice powder. I still remembered the first time when I saw the dish. I was a bit taken back by the overwhelming dark color and the soft grainy stuff covering the meat. But my doubt evaporated as soon as I took a bite. The meat is so soft and flavorful. It melted in my mouth right away.
The soft, tiny, and grainy stuff, called rice powder (米粉), is actually crushed rice. The pork belly is covered with the grainy rice powder, which soaks up the juice and flavor from pork belly. You can certainly make your own rice powder, but it requires a lot more effort and time. That’s too much of a luxury for me with my two boys off from school during their winter break. But not to worry, the rice powder I got from some of the Asian grocery stores taste exactly the same as the ones my grandma used when I was little (she didn’t make her own either!).
This recipe goes particularly well with other vegetable dishes like Chinese Broccoli with Garlic-Soy Sauce. You can even just eat it with plain rice, as we do sometimes in my household.
Preparation Time: 35 minutes (mostly inactive)
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 2 – 4 people
- 1/2 lb pork belly (skin removed)
- 1 pack of rice powder for steamed meat (蒸肉粉) 1
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon rice cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon sweet bean paste 2
- a small purple yam, sweet potato, potato, or some king oyster mushrooms 3
- Cut the pork belly into 1/3 inch (1.25 cm) thick slices. I like to cut the pork belly to somewhat match the shape of either the potato or oyster mushrooms (see pictures). In a small mixing bowl, add all the seasonings and condiments together to make the marinade: 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice cooking wine, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of sweet bean paste. Mix well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can marinate the pork belly in a Ziploc bag and flip the bag once in between.
- Peel and cut the sweet potato, potato, or king oyster mushrooms into thick pieces while waiting for the pork belly to be ready. Lay the potato pieces neatly on a plate or bowl.
- When the pork belly is done marinating, pour all the rice powder onto a medium plate. Roll the pork belly slices one by one in the rice powder then place them on top of the potato or mushroom.
- Heat a pot of water with a steam rack under medium-high heat. When water boils, transfer the plate to the steam rack. Steam for 40 minutes or until the meat and rice powder are soft to the bite. Enjoy while warm!
- You can get rice powder for steamed meat from most Asian grocery stores. Look for the ones with grainy shapes instead of real powdery texture (I know it’s called rice powder but it should really be called rice crumbs in my opinion). Some come with a bag of sauce. Just discard the sauce and use the rice powder by itself.
- Most Asian grocery stores have sweet bean paste in stock. It may come in a plastic bag, a glass jar, or a container. If you can’t find any sweet bean paste, use 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sugar instead.
- These are some of the options I’ve used in the past. You can definitely explore more options. These veggies soak up the extra juice from the steamed pork belly, becoming super fragrant.
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