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Fen Jen Ro- Steamed Pork Belly in Rice Powder Recipe
Fen Jen Ro (粉蒸肉) is a dish that my whole family absolutely loves. In fact my husband likes it so much whenever I ask him what he wants to eat, over 50% of the time he will say Fen Jen Ro. Not only is Fen Jen Ro absolutely delicious it’s also really easy to prepare however it takes 2-3 hours to steam. But trust me, the flavour of this dish is amazing.
There are a few different origins and stories about this dish. One of my favourite stories is about a couple who ran a small restaurant that had... poor business. The husband also had a terrible gambling habit and when his wife one day gave him some money to buy some plates, bowl and food from the market, instead he squandered it on gambling. Upon returning home his wife was furious and they had a big fight. After the fight they were both really hungry but they had no food to eat. The husband then suddenly remembered he had some pork so he marinaded the pork in soy sauce and he picked some lotus leaves to hold the food (they were so poor, especially after he threw away the last of their money) they didn’t even have bowls or plates. The wife steamed the pork and when they unwrapped it they discovered the pork was really tender and full of the fragrance from the lotus leaf.
Even though the pork was really tender and smelt great, it lacked some flavour so they combined it with glutinous (sticky) rice powder and spices, steamed it again and it was now absolutely delicious. They then served this dish in the restaurant and people cam from afar to eat this amazing Fen Jen Ro. Such was the popularity the husband even managed to quit his gambling habit.
Fen Jen Ro (粉蒸肉 in Chinese) is most easily translated into “Steamed Pork Belly in Rice Powder with Sweet Potato” and we eat this dish in both Chinese and Taiwanese households. In Taiwanese and Chinese households most people tend to cook this dish in an electronic rice cooker. The amazing thing about rice cookers is you can cook pretty much anything in it. You can even bake a cake if you wish. However I chose to use a bamboo steamer and wok to steam this dish for people who don’t have a rice cooker at home. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer you can use a heat proof bowl and layer your Fen Jen Ro in the bowl then cover with cling film and put in on the rack and steam in the wok.
800g pork Belly
250g sweet potato, peeled and slice into 1cm thick
150g jenrofen powder (“蒸肉粉”. This is a type of rice powder which is only used for this kind of dish. The rice powder used for rice balls or other dishes is completely different)
1 teaspoon sweet beans sauce
1 teaspoon Doubanjiang
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
2 teaspoon sugar
70ml light soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon spring onion, finely choppedContinue to 2 of 8 below.
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This is Jenrofen powder I used for this recipe.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
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Slice pork belly into 5cm wide and 1cm thick sections. Marinade with all the seasonings for at least 1 hourContinue to 4 of 8 below.
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Place Jenrofen on a plate.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Coat the pork belly with jenrofen powder/rice powder and leave it asideContinue to 6 of 8 below.
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Prepare a 21.5cm wide bamboo steamer or similar size heat proof bowl and line it with baking paper. Place a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the bamboo steamer.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
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Layer the rest of the bamboo steamer with the pork belly.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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Sprinkle some extra jenrofen powder on top and cover with the bamboo steamer lid.
Place a steam rack into the wok and pour 1 litre of water into the wok. Boil the water first then put step 4 on the rack and cover everything with the wok lid. Turn the gas power to medium and steam it for 2 hours. Check occasionally but make sure there’s always water in the bottom of the wok