This week: Rou Jia Mo
Sometimes you just can’t decide whether you want hamburgers or Chinese food. So how about this option – Chinese hamburgers. Actually called Rou Jia Mo, this snack food is made with pork, not beef, and a number of different spices. Some of these spices can be a bit pricy and/or difficult to find, so I substituted some and also found a great Chinese 5-spice blend at a grocery store in Reno (pickings can be rather slim in Harridge). From what I’ve read, there can be a lot of different takes on this one – so here is mine. Traditionally make with pork belly and Shaoxing wine, I substituted boneless pork shoulder ribs and dry cooking sherry.
For the filliing:
- 2 lbs of boneless pork shoulder ribs
- ¼ cup dry cooking sherry
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs brown suger
- ½ tps coriander
- ½ tps mint, dried
- 2 tps Chinese spice blend (cinnamon, anise, cloves, ginger & fennel)
- 3 tbs fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 small shallots, sliced into small ringlets
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
For the buns:
- 3½ cups flour
- 2 tps active yeast
- ¾ tps salt
- 1¼ cup warm water
- Combine dry ingredients – brown sugar, coriander, mint, and Chinese spice blend. Since the brown sugar tends to clump, I like to muddle these ingredients together with a small mortar and pestle first, then add the grated ginger and minced garlic.
- In a saucepan large enough to boil the meat, pour the cooking sherry, soy sauce, and add your combined dry ingredients. Add the pork shoulder and enough water to cover, plus your bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Bring to a full boil, then lower heat to medium and cook for around 2 hours, until the pork is tender. Be sure to check your water level on occasion – add more when needed to keep the meat covered.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the buns by combining the ingredients and kneading well. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, this can make the job much easier. Cover the bowl and allow it to sit for about an hour.
- After the dough has risen, divide it into 12 pieces and form them into balls. Then take each ball and roll it between your hands to form a cigar shape. Use your rolling pin to roll it out into a long narrow strip and then fold it over lengthwise. Next, roll up the strip so it looks like a cinnamon roll, tucking the end inside the roll. Now flatten the roll with either your hands or a rolling pin until it is about 4” across. Set the buns aside for another 20 minutes or so.
- To put it all together: Preheat your oven to 300°. Brown the buns on each side in a hot skillet (no oil needed – about 2 minutes for each side), then transfer to the oven for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, remove the pork from the saucepan and cut into small chunks. Reserve some of the seasoned stock that you cooked the pork in. Heat some peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the shallots and the pork. Spoon some of the stock over the mixture as you heat it, and add the green onions. Pull the buns out of the oven, slice them ½ way through, stuff with the pork mixture and serve immediately.
Now, Sunday at 9pm, tune your radio to KNVC 95.1 FM Carson City – or if you’re not in range, you can pull it up on their website: https://knvc.org. If you happen to miss it for some reason, they will re-air it next Friday at 8pm.
Need to catch up on previous episodes? You can now catch Secrets of Harridge House on https://www.imdb.com! Or go to https://anchor.fm/harridgehouse or your favorite podcast provider to stream previous episodes from Season 1 and Season 2.