Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jinhua Ham - the Chinese style of Virginia (Smithfield) Ham

A Brief Treatise on Chinese dry-cured Ham.

Recipe to follow.

Currently the American government will not allow Chinese Jinhua Ham (金华火腿) to be imported into the United States. What the cook must do is substitute Smithfield Ham or buy a small piece of Chinese style jinhua ham from a Brooklyn New York maker.

Misnomered Cured Ham it is manufactured by Prime Food Processing Corp. There address is:

Prime Food Processing Corp.
300 Vandervoort Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 963-2323

USDA Est. 19099
(this is the registry number given by the USDA)

So, readers, if you want as authentic an ingredient as possible, call these folks and ask where it's sold in your location.  I purchased this in Chinatown in Los Angeles California at: 

Wing Hop Fung (They sell over the internet.)

727 N. Broadway Suite #102
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Store Hours: 9 a.m - 6 p.m.
Open 7 days a week
Tel: (213) 626-7200
Fax: (213) 626-4744

End of Brief Treatise on Chinese dry cured Ham.

I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts as that is what I had on hand. This photo is from: hungerhunger (a daily obsession)

Wedding Party Banquet Dish
4 chicken breasts, boneless - small about 4 to 6 ounces each
10 dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked and halved
8 ozs. Chinese jinhua ham
3 Tbs julienne ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 t white pepper
1 1/2 Tbs cornstartch
1 Tbs xio xing wine (also spelled shao shing, shao hing)
1 1/4 Tbs light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbs mushroom soaking water
16 ozs. Choy Sum (also Choi Sum, Tsoi Sum)

In a colander wash the choy sum, and allow it to drain while preparing all else. Soak the mushrooms in 1 1/4 cups of warm water. After 15 minutes, remove the mushrooms, de-stem and cut in half. There should be about 1 cup of soaking water. Reserve 2 Tbs. of the soaking water and use the remainder for the steamer. While the mushrooms are soaking, cut the ginger and reserve. Mix all the liquid ingredients with the salt, pepper and sugar. Stir and set aside. Open the package of ham, if using that pictured above. Slice the ham into pieces about 1/2 to 3/4 inch tall and 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide. Count the number of pieces of ham. Set aside. Make the same number of slits in the breasts as you have ham slices. Slit the breast cross-wise, but not all the way through. That's why I say "slit" not slice. Decorously put the choy sum on the platter. Place the ham slices in the chicken slits. Next, decorate the breasts with the shitake halves. Place the prepared breasts on top of the choy sum. Pour the liquid over each breast, using a finger to paint it all over the chicken, don't bother painting the ham slices as well. Sprinkle the ginger over the breasts, decorously. The ham slices should stick out over the surface of the ham. It's very structural when completed. Cover the plate snugly with aluminum foil.

Prep the wok with a steamer rack.  Add the remainder of the mushroom soaking water and 1 cup of water. Put the plate on the steamer rack. Cover the wok with a snug fitting lid. Put the heat on high for 10 minutes or a few minutes longer until you can hear the steamer water dancing. Lower to the lowest possible simmer.

Steam 30 minutes. When the time is up, carefully remove the plate so as to not spill the sauce, which will be poured over each breast. Meanwhile, make the rice when the steamer is steaming. The meal can sit in the wok a few minutes longer, if the rice isn't cooked after 30 minutes. Put the rice on a plate, and some steamed choy sum and put the steamed breast-ham over. Pour a fourth of the soaking liquid on each breast. Serve with soy sauce and sesame oil as table condiments.

Soon to be Ham