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Friday, September 25, 2009

Hakka Steamed Pork Belly with Yam Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

This heavenly Hakka piggy dish is thoroughly infused with five-spice powder and nam yee red sauce, inducing sweet-savoriness. Pork belly is deep-fried and sliced thickly, then alternately "sandwiched" with deep-fried yam slices in steaming bowl and steamed over long hours. This Hakka classic cuisine is characterized by its saltiness (from the use of soy sauce in marinade and fermented red bean curd in nam yee red sauce), sweetness (from rice wine, oyster sauce and yam), greasiness (from multiple layers of fat), rich aromas (from the use of star anise and five-spice powder) and yumminess (from right blend of ingredients).

Hakka Steamed Pork Belly with Yam Homecooked Recipe
Chinese New Year celebrations is not complete without pigging out on savory dishes and my in-laws family have no exception until recently. This Hakka signature dish - "Hakka woo tau khau yoke 客家芋头扣肉" used to grace our dining table during Chinese Lunar New Year. Being a Hakka, my mother-in-law is good at reciting the recipe theorectically and my sister-in-law practically transformed it into a scrumptious meal, while hubby and I are the lucky buggers who eagerly partake and savor this irresistible Hakka dish. I was previously not that zeal in the culinary pursuit, hence not noting down the recipe mentally. My culinary adventures and passions only grow intensely and culminate after I ceased my industrial job to be a stay-at-home mom.

Hakka steamed pork belly with yam is a spectacular dish that I dubbed the dish as "killer pork"! However, daunted by its complexity, labour intensive, time-consuming and its glorious fat, I don't usually cook the dish. It was until recently that I stumbled across a cookbook featuring how to make Hakka nam yee red sauce and I found it is not as complicated as I first thought. Knowing that my hubby is a hardcore fan for this classic Hakka dish, I grabbed home this cookbook from Popular bookstores. I gave it an attempt after mustering up all the courage for having a written recipe narrating the nam yee red sauce and steamed pork belly with yam making process.

It is such a gastronomic pleasures when you sink your teeth into this bowl of this thoroughly sauced-soaked Hakka cuisine. Though there's a big dose of fatty pork, I just can't resist the temptation and simply put aside all the gnawing guilt and sit down to indulge on these pieces of piggy heaven! I know, I know, I must put an extra effort in reducing that disgusting bad cholestrol later on!

I structured the recipes into two sections, first the Hakka nam yee red sauce recipe and secondly Hakka steamed pork belly with yam recipe (which I will lay out here).

Hakka "woo tau khau yoke" recipe  客家芋头扣肉食谱

Ingredients :
1kg pork belly (五花肉或三层肉)
500g yam / taro (芋头)
5 cups oil for deep-frying

Marinade :
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp five spice powder (五香粉)

Gravy (Mixed) :
4 tbsp Hakka nam yee red sauce
100ml water

Method :
1.  Cut pork belly into 3-4 big chunks and mix with marinade ingredients. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown and pork skin firm up and crispy. Dish up and rinse with water. Keep aside.

2. Use a fork (or toothpick) to prick some holes on the skins to allow the pork to absorb gravy later. Cut into 1.5cm thick slices. The half-cooked pork belly enable more efficient slicing process, unlike wobble raw meat slicing.

3. Clean yam and skin. Cut yam into 1cm thick slices and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish up and drain. Absorb excess oil with kitchen towels.

4. Arrange pork belly and yam alternately onto a steaming bowl and pour over gravy.

5. Steam pork belly and yam on high heat for 1-2 hours until yam and pork is cooked and tender (the longer the better, so as pork belly is tender enough to melt in your mouth). Serve hot with white rice.

Tips :
If you're particular about aesthetics and presentation, you can invert onto a serving plate lined with lettuce with sesame oil drizzled on top. Place the serving plate over steaming bowl, then invert it quickly.

More on  Healthy Easy Food Recipes 


  1. Your dish sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Hi Glady,
    This is my all time favorite Hakka dish. Your narration of the recipe is very clearly presented. Full marks for the Recipe as that was how my grandma would have made it.
    If you are interested to look at my version & picture of "Hakka Kiew Nyuk" (literally means coupling of Yam & Pork), please go to my blog (
    Feel free to comment or feedback.
    Regards, Jack Chan

  3. Hi Gladys,
    Almost as equally highly ranked as Hakka Kiew Nyuk, in traditional Hakka re-union dinner dish, is a dish called the Sour Plum Duck (shaun Moi Up). Will you ask your hakka folks around for the recipe?
    Your Fan,
    Jack Chan

  4. Hi Jack, thanks for gracing my blog with your presence. :) Regretly, I never cooked this Hakka dish before. In your quest for Sour Plum Duck recipe, I came across this braised duck with plum sauce recipe, hope it is what you're looking for. Enjoy!

  5. This is my favorite dish.... I used to order this whenever I eat in Chinese restaurants, not all the time but at least 60% of the chance I will order :p

    1. Hi Joan, thanks for dropping by. :) You can try to lay your hand on this Hakka signature dish instead, you may find it not as complicated as it seems.



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