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Serves 4

These have to steam a Long time, But are easy to make.

    • 1 lb pork spare ribs
    • 2 dried lotus leaves
    • rice powder scented with 5-spice

    • 2 T chopped scallion
    • 1 T chopped ginger
    • 1 T each soy sauce, oil, sugar, soybean paste
    • 1/2 T sesame oil

Cut spare ribs into pieces 1½ inch wide, 2 inches long, then marinate in seasonings 1/2 hour.
Cut lotus leaves into eight pieces and soak in hot water 20 min.
Remove marinated ribs and discard scallion and ginger. Add rice powder and thoroughly mix with rib pieces. Divide ribs into eight small portions. Place each on a soaked lotus leaf, fold and roll to make a package. Place with the smooth side down in a bowl or deep plate. Steam over high heat for two hours until tender. Put a serving plate face down over the bowl and turn over.
-courtesy Henry Chang

(see pages 148-149):

"Inside the leaves, the rib meat came away under their chopsticks, rich and lean and long-cooked with a soft crust of scented rice powder. Underneath, the darker, more complicated flavor of the meat, the marrow, and the aromatics. Maggie thought it was wonderful. She ate everything except the rib bones, which she nibbled clean and folded back up, polished, inside the leaf. She wished she could lick the leaf, it was so good.

But Sam/ watching Uncle Xie's face, said, 'You think the scallion and ginger are too strong.'

'This is a dish of refinement,' said Xie 'Sophistication and subtlety are what is most important, not the peaks of flavor. Every flavor must be a play on texture, while every texture suggests a flavor. You can be rustic, but never coarse. Always believe in the intelligence of the diner. Always reward them with subtlety.'"

From 'The Last Chinese Chef' Copyright © 2007 by Nicole Mones (Houghton Mifflin)

   These tender steamed ribs are infused with the delicate herbal musk of the lotus leaf. They are the creation of Henry Chang, owner and chef of Chang's Garden. Chang was trained from childhood in an old-school apprenticeship in Taiwan, a place where all China's cuisines are represented. As a result he is adept in the cooking of every Chinese province.
   Lately the cuisine of Hangzhou has captured his creative attention, and he has opened this restaurant to showcase the subtle dishes of that city.
   Chang's Garden, 627 W Duarte Rd., Arcadia, CA 91007, 626-445-0707. English menu; little English spoken. Mealtimes are jammed. Arrive after 8:00 for dinner or wait.


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