asian steamed pork with sweet pickles

asian steamed pork with sweet pickles

It’s obvious from getting to know me that I love sides.  It’s one of the coolest concepts.  When else do you get a variety of food that is great on its own, but when served together- compliments each other’s flavors? That’s why I love family style meals so much; essentially it’s a bunch of sides.  My all time favorite, and quick fix, is Taiwanese style congee or rice porridge.  It’s actually real simple: a bunch of pickles, braised things, quickly stir fried stuff and served with a base of thick and plain white rice porridge.  It serves as a perfect winter breakfast.  So warm and comforting.  Out of all the sides that we would have had with congee growing up, my favorite was a sweet pickle dish.

These pickles are not your average pickles.  They are usually cut in slices or spears and are full of sweet and salty flavors.  The pickles are small because it has to be something that chopsticks can easily navigate and the mouth can handle in one bite.  Since these are so small the flavor is totally packed in and gives your taste bud a burst of confusion, and amazing-ness.  They usually come in a can or jar; my mom would always buy the cans because they seem to always be the right measurement no matter what dish she is making.

I love these pickles; I would get so excited when my mom would buy some at the market.  Some days I would come back from school and sacrificed my time to cook so I can sneak into the pantry, open a can of these pickles, and eat a handful of them.  I eventually had to eat the whole can because I couldn’t leave a half opened can in the fridge.  Mom would have found out and I couldn’t have that happen.

There where three distinct dishes that I remember my mom making with this dish.  One of the ones that I loved was this steamed pork dish.  Essentially it is a Taiwanese version of an American meatloaf.  The flavor is great and texture is awesomely surprising.  The pickles aren’t cooked to point of no return, so the crunch still stays.  And the ground pork encases the pickle so when you bite into it, a burst of the savory, sweet, and soy explodes in your mouth.  My mom started to buy multiple cans of the pickle.  I think she figured it out.  Especially because one day when she wanted to make this dish, she couldn’t find the can of pickles that she swore she bought the weekend before.  I told her it must have magically disappeared.  I then went to my bathroom, cleaned the can, and hid it in my drawer so I couldn’t be implicated.  I think she figured it out.


1 lb ground pork

1 medium egg

2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tbs)

2 tsp cornstarch

2 cups of Chinese pickles, rough dice

1 tbs Chinese rice wine

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs Chinese pickle liquid


mix all ingredients in a casserole dish

steam mixture in dish until fully cooked through, about 30 minutes

-serves 6 (family style with rice)-


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