And I made Lap Mei Fan

2009Apr20-Lap Mei Fan-1

Ever since I announced that I scored some Lap Cheong (“La Chang” in Mandarin or Chinese Air-dried Pork Sausage) and Yun Cheong (“Ren Chang” in Mandarin or Chinese Air-dried Duck Liver Sausage) from the famous Yung Kee, I’ve been asked, constantly, if I have used them to cook Lap Mei Fan, the classic one-pot of good eating.

I agree with Josh that calling these delightful treats “preserved sausages” does not pay it the proper respect that it commands. Indeed, he waxes (ahahaha!) lyrical about them here.

This trip to Hong Kong, I tried to load up on the sausages but unfortunately (or not) Yung Kee only sells the sausages during the Chinese Lunar New Year, so we went to the equally famous Wo Hing Preserved Meat Company just down the road.

Back to cooking. Personally, I usually do sliced Lap Cheong in an omelet served as an accompaniment to plain porridge but the best and most refined way to use the Chinese sausages is either Claypot Rice or Lap Mei Fan.

The difference between Claypot Rice and Lap Mei Fan is that Claypot Rice (a supposed Hokkien dish) uses more ingredients like chicken and mushrooms and the sauce is usually a simple dark Soya Sauce whereas the Lap Mei Fan as the name implies, simply uses Chinese Sausages and, if available, Chinese Preserved Pork Belly and Waxed Duck and the sauce is more complex. In fact, I would say that the sauce is a make-or-break component for Lap Mei Fan.

Either way, what I craved for is a pot of smoky, sweet and savory rice filled with meats and crunchy bits.

This is my first Lap Mei Fan.

I sent out a request for references and recipes to people whom I considered experts at this. Renee, Florence and TTC came back with tons of good advice, especially TTC’s recipe for the Lap Mei Fan sauce.

2009Apr20-Lap Mei Fan-2

I think first and foremost, cooking Lap Mei Fan in a rice cooker does not fully realize the deliciousness of Lap Mei Fan. At least for me because my rice cooker turns out perfectly cooked, fluffy rice automatically which doesn’t achieve one of the key characteristics of Lap Mei Fan (or Claypot Rice, for that matter): the “Fan Chew” or to use the layman’s term: Crackling Rice Crispies. Every smoky flavor-laden mouthful of rice should have a mix of perfectly but slightly dry cooked rice and some crispy (not burnt) rice for texture and bite.

Anyway, like all cooking, the key technique is in the control of the fire. Most people would use a strong fire to boil the rice and then bring it down to a simmer. Taking a leaf from Umami’s entry, I used a low flame throughout the cooking process.

Some people would just add the sausage direct, but I think the better approach would be to slice the sausages in long slices to expose the fat. I saw quite a few people crack an egg yolk or two into the pot, I am not sure why but it just produced a creamy egg yolk on top which didn’t do anything to the flavor. Perhaps I should beat the eggs and pour it around. Any suggestions or explanations?

How to tell if the Lap Mei Fan is done? Well, you can use your senses: your kitchen will fill up with powerful aromas and the steam from the claypot will be reduced significantly. Listen to hear a slight popping of the rice and finally, you can open the claypot to taste. You can see that the white bits of fat have mostly leaked out from the sausage into the rice. Mmmmmm…

Lot’s of people advise that you shouldn’t open the lid as the steam might escape. I think opening the lid is fine, you can just add a little more water to generate steam if you need it. The beauty of using claypot is that it holds heat well and things get heated up very quickly.

The sauce is a complex mixture of different oils and fluids. I used TTC’s recipe which I modified by adding dried Scallops, but that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, since I was eating alone, I poured (a little too liberally as it turned out) the sauce on to the rice which immediately started to snap, crackle and pop. Top with Spring Onions and dinner is served!

2009Apr20-Lap Mei Fan-3


Posted on 21st Apr 2009 in Cantonese, Fun, Recipes

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There Are 7 Comments

 

Su-Lin commented on April 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm


:O

I want this! I haven’t yet cooked with Chinese bacon and this would be the perfect dish to start with!


 

Patrick commented on April 21, 2009 at 9:13 pm


Hi Ivan, you can try this, I usually heat up the lap mei in a little oil, sesame would be good, then remove the lap mei from the oil and place them at the bottom of the clay pot, the remaining oil, saute a little garic and dry fry the rice til fragrant. Then put the rice onto the lap mei to cover them. Add stock, cover and bring to a slow boil, when the rice is tender, pop the the whole pot into a pre heated oven 170 C and keep in there for 30 mins. You can invert the entire pot onto a platter for serving. Have fun.


 

ivan commented on April 22, 2009 at 11:17 am


@Su-Lin: Post on your blog! I am regretting not buying the preserved pork belly.

@Patrick: Great alternative! For the sauce, I use oyster sauce, shallot oil, sesame oil, dark soya sauce, fish sauce and dried scallops.


 

ladyironchef commented on April 23, 2009 at 9:18 am


wow i think i like lap mei fan more than claypot; whole pot full of chinese sausages!! and it that two eggs i see in the photo? heh


 

ivan commented on April 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm


Yes, you do, but it’s actually supposed to be salted duck yolks instead.


 

food.recentrunes.com | Cooking Lap Mei Fan for potluck parties commented on December 17, 2009 at 9:37 am


[…] last time I was lamenting that I didn’t get the preserved pork belly and salted fish from Woo Hing in […]


 

[…] Popiah Party by Weylin, was inspired to cook Moo Pad Krapow by TGWAE, similarly, a experiment on claypot rice was conducted by this blog who also helped a few people understand and appreciate happy food. In […]


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