Homemade Cha Trung – Vietnamese Steamed Pork Meatloaf with Egg

I was at a Vietnamese restaurant the other day, and all I really wanted was something I haven’t had in years, and it was Cha Trung, which is essentially pork meatloaf that is steamed cooked, with an egg on top. I figured it wouldn’t be hard to make, so I attempted my version of it – a simple one, but a good foundation to add all sorts of yummy ingredients to it!

1 lb ground pork
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped vermicelli noodles
2 large eggs, 1 eggs in the meatloaf, and 1 for the top
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1/2 tsp white pepper

Things that you can add are:
1/3 cup dry Nam Meo (Tree Ear Fungus), soaked
shredded carrots

The first thing, set up a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Then, chop up the the vermicelli noodles after it has softened. You can either soak it until soft, or cook it in salted boiling water until soft. Then, mix it with chopped onions.

Afterwards, add the meat in to the mixture and season… and then mix well so it is evenly seasoned. When it is mixed well, mix a egg that has been beaten into the meatloaf, and continue to mix.

When the meatloaf has combined thoroughly, spray some vegetable oil, or grease a steam proof container and pat your meatloaf into the plate. From here, beat the other egg and just pour it on top. If you like more eggs on top, then put a second one, to make a thicker egg cover. Then, cover the meatloaf with plastic wrap.

Steam the meatloaf for about 25-35 minutes depending on how thick the patty is. When it’s ready, be careful taking it out as it’s extremely hot. I cut it into wedges and I serve it with either rice or rice vermicelli and I pour Ngoc Cham! Of course, you can add more to the plate, but this is a simple meal that doesn’t take much time to prepare and when it cooks, it’s pretty much “set it and go” – just like cooking the rice in a rice cooker!

I’ve made this a few times now as it’s so easy to make and it feeds a lot for a small cost! The thing I love about this, I can add all sorts of things into the meatloaf, and it tastes amazing!

Homemade Chinese Man Tou – 饅頭

Home Made Chinese Steamed Buns – Wan Tou

My brother-in-law came to visit, and as a welcome gift, I decided to make one of his favourites, which is Man Tou! The other thing he really likes is white rice, and that’s definitely harder to bring to the airport to greet with (in my opinion – without doing something fancy to it). So, I just made a small batch, and it’s quite simple!

Ingredients: (makes 8-10 small man tous)
3/4 tsp Yeast
1/2 cup Warm Water
2 cup Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Oil

First, you mix the yeast with the warm water, and give it time to activate. You can also use instant yeast, especially if you’re pressed on time. I was pressed on time, but didn’t have instant yeast – so my end results was a little more dense.

After the yeast had doubled, mix the sugar with the flour, then pour the yeast mixture and oil into the flour mixture as well. If you have an electric mixture, use the hook attachment and knead for about 10 minutes. If you’re like me, then just knead until the dough is soft, smooth and quite “silky”.

Now, you can roll out your dough into a rectangle, and roll up one end. Then, with a pastry cutter, cut the log into pieces and place on little squares of parchment paper.

Now, you can set up your steamer while the dough rises for about 20 minutes.

When you’re ready to steam, steam it for about 13 to 15 minutes if you’re making the large man tous, and 10-12 minutes for the little ones! Serve while hot!

Homemade Put Chai Ko – 砵仔糕

Home Made Boot Jai Goh – Chinese Pudding Cakes

I think I goofed up on this recipe, because it’s more “traditional” to use Chinese slab sugar, or at least rock sugar… or even brown sugar to get the colour. Regardless, you can just substitute the sugar. There’s nothing wrong with using white sugar either!

Ingredients: (makes 4-6)
1/2 cup Hot Water
2 tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Cold Water
6 tbsp Rice Flour
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp almond extract

First thing is first – as this solution doesn’t like to wait for you… so, get the steamer ready so it’s ready! Also, cut some pieces of plastic wrap or tin foil so you can cover the little bowls before you place them into the steamer.

Now, you get to measure out your hot water and dissolve the sugar into the water.

Then, in another bowl, mix the cold water with the almond extract, rice flour and tapioca starch.

Then, combine the 2 solutions and mix well. When it’s combined thoroughly, I like to pour it into the measuring cup as it has a spout – making it easiest to pour. Now, pour this solution into the molds – and cover it with plastic wrap and place into the steamer immediately.

Fill the molds almost to the top, but be sure to leave some room.

Steam these desserts for about 15 minutes on medium high heat. Then, you’re ready to enjoy! You can either enjoy it in the dish or turn them over and remove it out of the molds!

div style=”text-align:center”>

If you’re making a thicker one, the best way to check if it’s done, it’s a good idea to do the wiggle test while they’re still in the steamer. It should jiggle, but there’s usually a liquid film on the top – so look at the sides!