Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cooking Popo's "Kau Yuk" Dish

When I was home in Hawaii this Christmas, my popo made her famous Kau Yuk (Steamed Red Pork with Taro). Kau Yuk was one of those dishes like bittermelon that I HATED as a kid. Wouldn't touch the stuff, but now that I am adult, I guess I can appreciate the unique starchy texture of taro, richness of fermented red bean curd and of course--PORK BELLY. I stubbornly thought I could remember the recipe in my head as I watched my popo prepare the dish, but after coming back to New York... I could barely remember the ingredients.

I ended up finding the recipe in a cookbook I had called Hawai'i's Best Local Dishes and decided to make it for the Oscars.

Kau Yuk (Steamed Red Pork) - yield: 8 to 10 servings (I halved the recipe below)

3 pounds pork belly
1 pound taro, sliced 1/2-inch thick
oil for frying

1 bottle red bean curd sauce (8-oz.)
3 Tablesppons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
2 Tablesppons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon five spices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole star anise (mashed)
1 Tablespoon sherry
I found the red bean curd at Hong Kong Supermarket in Manhattan Chinatown
 Heat oil and brown sliced taro. Set aside. 
Parboil pork belly for 15 minutes. Rinse and paper towl dry. Puncture skin with knife or fork. Heat oil in heavy pot and fry skin side down until brown and crisp. Remove from the pot and cool. Cut into slices, approximately 1x4-inches.
 Arrange in large bowl, alternating taro and pork slices. 
Mix all sauce ingredients. Pour over meat and taro in a bowl. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight. 
 Steam for 2 1/2 hours. And wha-lah! Looks disgusting but trust me it's delicious.
Kau Yuk on the upper right was my contribution to the spectacular Oscar dinner which included char siu bao, browned brussel sprouts in bacon, teriyaki meatballs, lime shrimp, grape tomato and onion salad and bacon and cheddar deviled eggs

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