Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Grilled Nam Yue Pork Belly


Grilled nam yue pork belly

Nam yue, euphemistically referred to as Chinese cheese, are little 2 cm squares of soy beans paste fermented in wine, salt, spices, chili flakes and red rice yeast. The  fermented bean cubes have a creamy, soft cheese-like texture, are very salty and are used as a cooking condiment. Beyond the saltiness, you will taste wine, 5-spice powder and the distinctive flavor of fermented soy bean curd. Soy bean cubes fermented without the red yeast are creamy colored, called fu yue, and these are milder in flavor but that depends on where they are made, because some can still be quite pungent. The best fu yue & nam yue come from Guilin, China. Fu yue is usually eaten with congee (a broth of rice and water, cooked until the rice becomes a thin gruel) or fried with greens, giving a creamy, tasty sauce to the dish while nam yue is often used to flavor stewed meat dishes.

Nam yue

If I had to choose, I'd pick nam yue as one of the best Chinese cooking ingredients. Under-rated and over looked, nam yue is intensely flavored and the fermented bean curd gives a savory-sweet taste into any dish, especially stewed meat dishes. Hakka koe yuk (belly pork slices with taro) cannot be made without generous amounts of nam yue. A good hum jim bang (a big circle of Chinese fried dough) should have some nam yue in it, as does nam yue spare ribs, nam yue pork stewed with wood ears or bamboo and nam yue-flavored snacks.

After my jin dui experience two weeks ago, I'm turned off by anything deep fried. Deep fried nam yue pork is one of the best dishes to die for, especially if you wash it down with wine or beer. Instead of deep-frying, I decided to cook nam yue-marinaded pork on my bbq grill, like how cha sao is roasted. The result is a highly flavored piece of pork that when sliced into thin pieces, goes beautifully with white rice and some stir-fried greens.

I suppose you can use chicken or even lamb but pork is the best meat, and belly pork the best cut (because of the fat), for this recipe.


Grilled Nam Yue Pork
3 skinless pork belly strips, about 1.5 to 2 cm thick
2 1/2 pieces nam yue + 1 T of the sauce
1 T fine sugar
several dashes of white pepper
1 T minced garlic, or 1/2 T garlic powder
3 T shao xin wine
optional: dash of soy sauce & pinch of 5-spice powder

1. Mix everything together, rubbing and massaging the marinade into the meat, and leave covered in the fridge for overnight or at least 8 hours. The longer the meat is marinaded, the deeper the flavor.

2. Heat up the barbie, turn fire to low and grill the pork slowly (hood down) until cooked, about  30 minutes. Once in a while, brush the pork with the marinade liquid. Serve hot.


J2Kfm said...

Agreed, one of the under-rated ingredient in Chinese cooking. Seldom can we find Nam Yue chicken or pork in dai chow restaurants nowadays.

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

Oh wow. I've GOT to try this. Thank you for posting this, Terri!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

This makes me salivated !! yummy! recently I found another brand of Nam Yue, very good taste!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

im gonna bookmark this for my next bbq!

Jade said...

Oooh I love the smell of nam yue..I tried your recipe for nan lu pai gu last year and it was soooo lovely! will bookmark this one for this weekend;)

gill gill said...

hard to get quality nam yue. and those China's brandsss always copy the label and make the consumer so confusing. only can get it from local wet market, just wonder why no super market put this on the rack.

terri@adailyobsession said...

j2k: what's dai chow?

ccc: for your next bbq!

sonia: name of the brand?

joe: yes, do so :)

jade: happy tt you did well n liked it:)

gill: we can get nam yue in supermarkets n not wet markets, other way round.

kat said...

Looks really appetising, Terri! And it's very similar to my siew yoke recipe. Do you remove the skin?

I find in Pen Mal, nam yue sold in small earthern jars tastes better than those in glass jars with red covers. Here, the nam yue is also quite nice. I will check whether they are from Guilin or not. :)

Johnathan Oh said...

Hi Terri

This dish looked oh-so-yummy @u@! But I am afraid I will have to skip this as too much "samcam" pork will definitely kill my wife... she loves roast pork so this will be killing her softly hahaha!

terri@adailyobsession said...

kat: your siew yoke looks SOOO yummy!

johanathan: but but your wife can afford to eat as much fatty pork as she wants, she's so slim.

Johnathan Oh said...

If my wife hears you comment her being slim I guess she'll be on cloud nine the whole day! But I am afraid that you are or still looked slimmer than her hahaah

Smart Payment Plan said...

Wow that looks like an amazing meal!

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