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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Salted Fish Steamed Pork

A dish that everybody in my family reminisces about Grandaunt.

Grandaunt is my paternal grandma's eldest sister.
She's the eldest in her family and I love to hear her stories from Panyu, China.
From how she gave birth to her 3 daughters on her own (yes, with no help at all, house door opened, with scissors and pot of boiling water by her bed), to how she catches "Woh Choong" , a type of water slug to cook. And how she will make dried shrimp in a large clay vase for the whole year's comsumption.

Grandaunt smokes, not Dunhill or Rothmans or Malboro. But pure tobacco rolled in paper, and she says those packet ciggies are tasteless. Tell her to stop smoking and she'll ask you," Who are you to tell me to stop, my dad taught me how to smoke". And she'll tell us how it all started. ...... She was planting in the field and got so tired and sat down to rest. Then her dad handed her a ciggie and told her to smoke it, so that she'll have the energy to work. Hahah!!! And she lived til she was 94. Died due to a fall that broke her leg on that eventful day when half of Malaysia blacked out (1996??), and when her broken leg failed to heal, her health faltered in a year. Should we sue TNB for that horrible blackout? We actually hoped that she'll live til 100 and make her cetenary celebration darn big!!! But she went home to Heaven a bit too soon.

She's the one who brought my grandma to Malaysia and became the baby sitter of 2 generations, my dad's and ours, while my grandma goes out and earn money for the family. Being the one at home, rather than my grandma, obviously some in the family regards her closer than my grandma, something of which my 2nd bro and I errr... don't really like. Grandma is still grandma, and nothing can replace that. But not to say that I do not appreciate Grandaunt's efforts, I do, just that she's still my grandaunt, and not my grandma. I can't do that to my grandma (even when she's gone for more than 29 years). When she had Alzheimers (before she left us for good), everybody knew how jealous she was towards grandaunt, she was mumbling "All snatched from me, all snatched from me" all the time, just because her kids were closer to grandaunt instead of her.
Sigh, should I pity Grandaunt or Grandma? Well, I just hold both close to my hearts. One gave her time to earn money to feed the family, one stayed behind for the kids and became the family's financial controller.

Well you may ask, what about her own kids? She had 3 daughters, gave away 2 while she was still in China. She brought the only daughter she was left with to Malaysia who later married the son of her boss who is a relative of my grandpa. Her sister(my grandma) is maried to my grandpa and her daughter married our relative, so, it's double relation.When she stayed with us for good, her daughter's already married and has a family of her own. Her grandkids are doing very very well now, and the only grandson is a prominent paediatrician in Singapore and another granddaughter a prominent medical figure in Malaysia's breast cancer field. Unfortunately, we seem to be closer to grandaunt compared to those who call her grandma. Maybe because she spent 50 years of her life with us.

Actually I do not know much about Grandma, cos she left us when I was not more than 2 years old, and Grandaunt stayed with me until I was 18. Grandaunt cooks our daily meals. She has a lot of "famous dishes".
And she's damn good in making steamed dishes. If I were to do her steamed dishes, one dish per dinner, It might take me more than 2 months to copy all her steamed meat dishes. Her forte is in marinating. She's got a good feel to what she adds. And she tastes everything before she steams it. Yes, even the pork before steaming. She'll dip the finger in the marinated dish and put the finger onto her tongue, let it sit in the mouth for a while, spit the thing out and gargle with water.

Well, anyway, here's one of Grandaunt's most well loved dish. Not really tasted when raw.. Gosh, can't do that myself.. yucks!

I can't really copy her version.. Nobody could really does things the way she does.
The taste is abit off from hers, maybe I used too much salted fish or black beans... Sigh, but I do believe that one day I will be able to do it like her.

So, this is for my own reference... and I'll try to perfect this one day.

100gm pork belly, thinly sliced
30gm salted fish (definately should reduce this next time)
1/2 Tbsp preserved black beans, rinsed and chopped
1 thumb sized ginger, smashed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp oil
2 Tbsp water

Combine everything and marinade for 30 minutes. Steam on high heat for 15 minutes.
This portion is enough for 3 pax.

I'm submitting this to Babe_kl's Merdeka Open House
Do join in the fun in conjuction with Malaysia's 53rd Independance Day.


  1. wendy although i don't like the taste and smell of salted fish this dish of yours makes it very tempting for me to try it out

  2. Wendy, u gave me an idea what to cook for my family tomorrow..:o) tq

  3. this is the dish that I am sure my inlaw will love it, looks yummy!

  4. Wendy, wah ... your family history got me all puzzled up ... HAHAHA! Your grand-aunt smoked!? WOW! @@ Remember you told me about Panyu when we met up. Unfortunately, mine has nothing to do with my ancestry in Toisan. More 'coz of my mom. Let's see how long I'll be procrastinating till I have had my Merdeka post published ... HAHA!

    Yes, 鹹魚蒸豬肉餅 is definitely a very Cantonese dish! So proud of it! Shame on me, I belum tried making that lar ... I should ... Will do so when the timing is right. Wendy, thanks for sharing yours! You took part in the Merdeka Open House this year! YAY!!!

    Love lots from KL,

  5. Nice sharing. I'm not able to share such story as I don't even get a chance to meet my grandparents or grandaunt. :(

  6. I remember my grandma cooked similar dish like this when I was a little girl. Yummy dish :)

  7. Lovely story about your grandaunt. So sad she fell down. Love your dish. Looks very delicious with all the lovely ingredients there. Must be very good with rice. Thanks very much for sharing.

  8. Interesting history! Mine is a complicating one!
    Anyway this dish of yours is so reminiscent of my childhood days. I would eat a lot of rice whenever my grandma cooked this. In fact she taught me how to cook and do marketing when I was 9+. She was in her 70s then. Perhaps I will revive this dish for my baba husband who loves streaky pork and salted fish. :)

  9. I super love this dish but with chicken meat! haha.... With 'mei xiang' salted fish! Yummm.... Have a wonderful evening.
    Cheers, kristy

  10. 大家姐, baru realized I'm such a 大頭蝦! You didn't use ground pork here! So pissed by myself ... Aiya, haven't been having good days at work ... Some more hor, my eyes must have been like goldfish during lunch break, which was when I left you my first comment. But then, this can be considered a cousin of 蒸豬肉餅 lar ...

    Speaking of the MASSIVE Blackout, YEA ... I totally can remember that!!! HAHAHA! I think it was in 1996 or 1997. I was very young (6 or 7 yrs old!!??) that time. I think the entire Peninsula Malaysia went dark! HAHA! You know what my dad did? He took all of us to 遊花行 with other cars of people in the city!!! Everyone went out of their homes and drove around just to feel the sense of excitement of living in the dark!!! HAHAHA! So much of great childhood memory ... Haiz ...

  11. hi wendy, thanks for dropping by at my blog..i'm very new to blogging and started baking last year. You really can cook! ..and all the lovely pictures..just happened to know abt the merdeka open house contest..have fun!

  12. Jess Kitchen,
    Jess Bakericious,

    Don't try this yet according to my recipe. It hasn't been perfected. If you want, please try to adjust the taste yourself.

  13. PeiLin,
    Haha, not hamyue ching Yokebeng, but Hamyue Ching Chuyoke. The former uses a different type of salted fish, which is the type in oil and ground pork. :)
    Which is weirdly, never made by grandaunt. Maybe it's a Toisan dish. :) But not a panyu one, hehehe.

  14. Little Inbox,
    Yeah.. it's ok. Many of my friends have the same case.

    ah-ha, miss it??

    Grandaunt's was super with rice, but mine was very far behind hers :(

  15. Busygran,
    This is indeed an old fashioned dish.
    I don't think many of the younger generation have ever eaten this. Nowadays it's so fusioned, sadly but true.

    Oh yes, Mui heong is super here. That's what grandaunt used last time, actually, with all the bones and head for this dish.


  16. lena,
    Every blogger has a starting point, and yours has just begun. Bloggin is fun and addictive!!

    I hope you join in the fun too!!! You still have few mre days to submit for Merdeka Open House.

  17. At some point, I began to see stars trying to remember who married who and whose grand son/ or son is doing what... this is the first time I see salted fish steamed with sliced pork. I am more familiar with salted fish steamed minced pork... interesting.

  18. Guess what!? We just had this last week! But I cooked mine with minced meat instead. And yes, mine was too salty too :P

  19. Thanks Wendy :D Awaiting for the next entry! BTW your pork meat is really "leng" :p

  20. Nice! 1st time I hear detailed stories of your Grandaunt...I've heard you mention a couple of times of her!
    Although my mum's a cantonese she knows not much about cantonese dishes coz her mother died suddenly when my mum's only 12. Great to learn these dishes from you.

  21. Shirley,
    Haha, I only mentioned about the grandkids in one paragraph. Try reading it twice or thrice to get the picture. ahaha.

    Blessed Homemaker,
    Oh, you hade the Ham Yue Ching Yoke Beng also.... So, I guess this version is really rare.

    Get that from Tesco's pork section :)

    I have a label dedicated to her in my "Sources". She taught me a lot, even by only observing her doing it.

  22. I remember having this dish a long time ago.My mom used to make this with ground pork. Too bad I can't cook this here as the smell of the fried salted fish might kill my husband and neighbors ha ha..

  23. I'm sure can finish this whole plate of salted fish steamed meat with just a bowl of plain porridge. ;p

  24. Gert,
    That's another version, and it doesn't contain black beans. :)

    Happy flour,
    So much??? Gosh, please don't. Hahaha. Have to watch out for salt intake.

  25. What a humble but powerful dish! U r so right that the smell of salted fish can bring back so many memories- Thanks for sharing this! I popped by from Babe_Kl!

  26. daphne,
    Hi, thanks for dropping by.
    Hope to see you again.

  27. Hi Wendy,
    I cooked this dish on Sunday. Very nice and praises from my children. My daughter said. " give a star to this recipe".
    Looking forward to more nice and simple recipes from you. thanks.

  28. Anonymous,
    Oh thank you so much for the feedback.
    I was actually thinking of refining the recipe, but I'm glad you liked this version.

  29. When I saw your comment on my steamed minced pork with salted fish, I came by to see your version. Wow.... what a surprise, my ah kong(or is it ah po) also came from panyu. Another came from shunde. My ah po also smoked the rolled paper tobacco and lived to an old age of around 90, when she fell down and knocked herself while going downstairs for her usual morning routine. But, it was my ah kong that did all the cooking at home.

  30. Fong,
    What a coincidence. People those days ate simple food just to fill the tummy but lived so long, even with smoking. LOL.
    I bet u missed your ah kong's cooking.

  31. Hi, Did you steam on the stove or in the microwave steamer function ? Thanks


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