There is a whole series of recipes, mostly in various Chinese cookbooks that I love the sound of but have never made simply because they rely on steaming as the main method of cooking. I have a largish saucepan with a steamer that sits on the top that I have used sporadically but the steamer section is not very big and so works for, say, fish fillets but not much else. So when I am riffling through I tend to stop and think, mmmmm that sounds good and then I turn the page till I find something I can stirfry or simmer on the hob. I'm aware I'm missing out but till now I've not realised quite how much.
Miele very kindly offered to let me trial their steam oven for a couple of weeks and suddenly I had the opportunity to try some of these recipes. I am already a serious fan of Fuschia Dunlop and cook regularly from her books. The steamed recipes probably make close to a fifth of her work so I was expecting good results but, in the same way that following her instructions I finally learned how to make tofu great, trying out the first few steamed recipes have shown me the delight of steaming.
The major discovery for me has been the way steaming creates an extraordinary delicacy of flavour and a new succulent texture, just a complete wow! in every mouthful. Crisp veg stays crispier and the pork in this dish took juicy to a new level. And all so very simple.
Steamed Pork and Blackbeans
500g pork spare rib chops, diced into large cubes
2 tspn light soy sauce
1 tbspn shaoxing wine
2 tspns finely chopped ginger
2 tbspn blackbeans, rinsed
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
2 tspn lard - optional
Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the pork for a minute. Drain.
Put the meat into a heat proof bowl and mix with the soy, shaioxing and ginger. Top with the black beans, chilli and lard if using (I did and it added a lovely mouth feel to the final dish).
Steam any which way for about 40 minutes.
I served it simply with basmati rice and steamed cabbage with ginger for a bowl of food that was richly flavoured and very light at the same time.