Homey, yes. Humble, yes. Easy to cook, yes. And yet this is delicious as delicious does, if that makes any sense. What I want to say is, don't judge this dish by its unimpressive looks.
I grew up eating this Cantonese dish and I suspect my mom cooked it whenever she ran out of ideas. Sometimes she even topped the patty with little strips of pork kidney, very yum too. We were never tired of it and ate lots of plain rice whenever this dish was on the table. In those days, we kids would wait at the table for Dad to get out of his shower. We never complained about our food because we had to sit and drool at the dishes while waiting for Dad to come out of the bathroom. Dad would open the door and we would sit up, all 5 of us, and at his same daily gesture (a dismissive wave of his hand) and words ("Eat, eat"), we'd dive in with our chopsticks like a pack of hungry beggars. I think mom made us sit at the table to wait for Dad to teach us restraint and we were well-trained, all of us. These days, I have to holler for Wey to come to the table and when he finally appears, he sometimes just nibbles a mouthful and leaves the table, like the food is so unpalatable. With my parents, you don't come to the table after Dad sat down. No no. If you do, a big scolding and no dinner for you.
Oh, the point is, this is a homey dish that my mom used to cook which I think is especially good for kids because it is easy to chew--it's all ground meat. I think you can substitute the pork with beef but not chicken. I just can't imagine eating steamed minced chicken. Ew. If you do use beef--sirloin or tenderloin--you can add water chestnuts for the extra sweetness and crunch. Beef can be rather coarse and dry and water chestnuts soften the coarseness. If you use pork, allow some pork fat in it so that it'll not taste coarse and of course, to improve the flavor. Whatever meat you use, make sure it's fresh, not frozen, because this dish is simple in ingredients and cooking and any staleness will be very noticeable.
Steamed Pork Patty With Tung Choi
400 gm fresh lean pork shoulder
1 heaped tablespoon tung choi
1 1/2 T light soy sauce
1/2 t salt (or to taste, remember tt tung choi is salted)
a few shakes of white pepper
1/4 cup water
3/4 T cornflour
chopped spring onions to garnish
1 T 'cooked' peanut oil
1. Trim the pork of stringy fat. Leave some firm fat on, they have a better texture and makes the pork taste less coarse. Chop the pork with a Chinese cleaver until fine. Wash the tung choi in several changes of water to remove grit and salt. Squeeze dry. Chop tung choi if like but I usually leave it.
2. Put the pork into a heat-proof plate, mix it well (I use my hands) with all the ingredients except the tung choi, spring onions and cooked oil. Pat it into a flat pancake. Scatter the tung choi on the patty. You can prepare up to this point and leave the pork in the fridge until about to cook dinner. Or you can stream it and then re-heat before eating. That's what I usually do.
3. Steam the pork for 15 minutes if meat patty is about 3/4" thick, longer if thicker.
4. Optional step: heat oil until just smoking and pour over the pork. Garnish with the spring onions.
Serve hot with plain rice.