餡餅 – Xian Bing (Chinese Meat Pies)
Today’s dish is a northern Chinese specialty. The word ‘Bing’ refers to a wide range of flat, usually unleavened, wheat ‘cakes’ that may or may not enclose a filling. The word ‘Xian’ specifically indicates that this variety is ‘stuffed’ or ‘filled’ and since it also generally indicates a forcemeat type of stuffing, these treats can be thought of as Chinese Meat Pies. Here, I am using beef (along with some leek) and so the more apt name would be 牛肉餡餅 …
- Basic Dumpling Dough made with 2 cups of flour;
- 1/2lb. Lean Ground Beef;
- ½ cup chopped Leek;
- 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch;
- 1 tsp. Pepper;
- 1 pinch Salt;
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic Paste;
- 1 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
- 1 tsp. Soy Sauce;
First, heat a little oil in a pan and briefly saute the leek until it is just soft. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.
Next mix together the beef, leek and all the remaining filling ingredients. Stir until the mixture becomes sticky.
When you are ready to assemble the cakes, divide your dough and meat mixture into 8 or 10 equal portions each. Take one portion of dough and roll it out to a disk with a diameter of 5 or 6 inches, then place one portion of the meat filling (about 3 tablespoons or so) onto the center of the disk.
To begin the cake, you can simply gather up the edges of the disk over the top of the filling and then pinch it off to close. However, I think the result is prettier if you pleat the edges all the way around much the same way as you would in making dumplings.
Here is one with the pleated edges closed over the filling.
However you close the cake, when you are done, turn it over so the closure side is down and gently press flat into a nice little cake shape. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
Finally, heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat and fry the cakes for about 4 minutes or so on each side and remove to a plate. You can serve alone while hot or with your dipping sauce of choice (I used hot English mustard and vinegar for the sauce in the first picture). Any remaining cakes can ne kept in the fridge for later. You can re-heat them but they are also good cold too…