1. Shanghai Long-Cooked Knuckle of Pork
  2. Chicken, Asparagus and Straw Mushroom Soup
  3. Paotzu Steamed Buns Stuffed with Crab Meat, Pork and Cabbage

A heartty, filling meal. Serve with plenty of rice or noodles, together with a fresh-tasting vegetable dish such as stir-fried mangetout or beansprouts, to balance the buns and the meat. In China these buns are often served on their own as a snack. the Knuckle of Pork with its rich, glossy, sugar-glazed sauce is another example of the dark, sweet dishes of this region. Serves 6-8.

1. Shanghai Long-Cooked Knuckle of Pork ()
    1 knuckle of pork, about 2 kg (4 1/2 lb)
    3 spring onions, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths
    6 tablespoons dark soy sauce
    40 g (1 1/2 oz) caster sugar
    6 tablespoons Chinese wine or dry sherry
    4 slices root ginger, peeled
    25 g (1 oz) lard

    Preparation time: 5 minutes
    Cooking time: 2 1/2 minutes

1. Score the pork skin all over with a sharp knife.

2. Place the knuckle of pork in a heavy pan or casserole and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim and simmer for another 15 minutes. Skim again, then pour off one-third of the broth.

3. Add the spring onions, soy sauce, sugar, sherry, ginger and lard to the remaining broth. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, turning the pork every 30 minutes. By the end of the cooking time, the liquid in the pan should have reduced by a quarter. Lift out the knuckle of pork and place on a warmed serving dsih.

4. Turn the heat up high to reduce the sauce even further, until it becomes rich and glossy. Pour over the knuckle of pork and serve immediately with plain vegetables and rice.

2. Chicken, Asparagus and Straw Mushroom Soup ()
    2 chicken breasts, about 175 g (6 oz), skinned and thinly sliced
    1 egg, beaten
    1 tablespoon cornflour
    150 ml (1/4 pint) vegetable oil
    1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock
    8 canned asparagus spears, cut into 2 cm (3/4 inch) pieces
    8-10 canned straw mushrooms, drained and sliced in half
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    pinch of MSG
    1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

    Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes

1. Place the chicken slices in a bowl with the egg and cornflour and turn until evently coated.

2. Heat the oil in a wok and add the chicken slices. Stir-fry gently for about 1 minute, then remove from the oil and drain. Pour off the oil and add the stock to the wok. Heat until boiling, agus and straw mushrooms. Finally add the salt, MSG, and sesame oil. Bring back to the boul and serve.

3. Paotzu Steamed Buns Stuffed with Crab Meat, Pork and Cabbage ()
    2 teaspoons dried yeast
    1 teaspoon sugar
    300 ml (1/2 pint) warm water
    450 g (1 lb) plain flour
    350 g (12 oz) minced pork
    50 g (2 oz) crab meat, flaked
    225 g (8 oz) Chinese cabbage, finely shredded, blanced and drained
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
    pinch of MSG
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    2 spring onions, finely sliced
    2 cm (1 inch) piece root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

    Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus rsing
    Cooking time: 20 minutes

1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar on to the warm water and leave in a warm place until it becomes frontly. Sift the flour, then stir the yeast mixture into the flour. Knead together until smooth, cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled its bulk (at least 1 hour). Knead again and then let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes, covered.

2. Mix the minced pork, crab meat and cabbage together. Add the salt, soy sauce, white pepper, MSG, sesame oil, spring onions and ginger. Mix \ together thoroughly.

3. Knead the dough for the third time, then roll out into 2 long sausage shapes. Cut each 'sausage' into 16-18 pieces. flatten each piece into a round with the palm of the hand. Place some of the pork and crab meat mixture in the centre and gather dough up over the filling and twist to seal. Leave the buns in a warm place to rise. When they are twice their original size place in a steamer basket and steam vigorously for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Note: Any leftover buns can be reheated for a snack, either by steaming for 5 minutes or shallow-frying in a little oil for 5-6 minutes.

<>   Xiaoniu SuChu Hsu (p) 1998    suchu@techart.nia.edu.tw