You ever have that moment where you come home after a long, hard day at work all tired and hungry. Then after settling in, you go into the kitchen and, as usual, there’s nothing to eat in the refrigerator but the same old leftovers from 2 nights ago, and a lonely half-pot of cooked rice on the counter. Then you open the pantry and there’s the same old canned suspects – tuna, SPAM, Pork & Beans, or you name it.
Then, there it is! You spock da’ Lup Cheong on da’ bottom shelf, staring back at you like a vacuum-sealed package of instantly-sinful gratification. “Perfect!”, you think. “Steam ’em up, nuke’ da’ rice, put ’em in a bowl with a little shoyu and I’m set!”
Yes, when the mood is right, convenience is key and nothing else matters, Lup Cheong and rice can be one of the simplest, yet most satisfying comfort foods out there. I’d dare even put it up against a ball-busting Loco Moco in a “that hit the spot” competition. Seriously
Another way I enjoy Lup Cheong and rice is by topping it with Chinese Cilantro and Ginger Pesto…
The “bite” of the ginger and cilantro, along with the fine texture of the chopped nuts work so well with the bold, sweet, savory and fatty flavor of the Lup Cheong sausage, as it does just as well as an enhancer to the rice.
My Chinese Cilantro Ginger Pesto recipe includes Cilantro (Chinese Parsley), Green Onion (Scallions), Ginger, Pine Nuts (or you can use your favorite nuts; I used Pine Nuts because it’s all I had on hand.. and worked great!), Canola Oil and salt. I made mine manually by chopping everything and heating it on the stove, but you can go the easy way and use a small food processor, which works great too; less chopping and mincing. I was just too lazy to bust mine out. You can play with the quantities to your own taste. Some might like it more “gingery”, more “nutty”, more “oily” or this or that.
This stuff is excellent on most white meat dishes like chicken, pork or fish. If you’ve had Cold Ginger Chicken, you know what I’m talkin’ about. I also like it simply mixed in with hot steamed rice, turning it into a simplified asian-style Pilaf, if you will.
So what is Lup Cheong? Well, here’s the brand I’m using today…
As you see, they spell it LAP-XUONG, but I’ve always know it as “Lup Cheong”.
This is Kam Yen Jan brand Chinese Style Sausage, manufactured in Seattle, Washington. This package is often on sale for about $3 each here in Honolulu. The 12 oz. net weight package is vacuum sealed and requires no refrigeration until it’s opened. The directions indicate to cook it by steaming it for 15 minutes and slice diagonally for service.
Some folks put the Lup Cheong in whole with the rice while the rice is steam-cooking in the pot. Others like myself prefer to pre-cut the Lup Cheong into diagonal bite-size pieces and cook it separately by placing it in a porcelain ceramic bowl that sits inside a pot filled with just enough water to steam it. That way I can control exactly how done I want it. This also saves the entire pot of rice from taking on any of the Lup Cheongs’ flavor. I definitely only like it steamed and don’t care for pan-fried Lup Cheong at all.
LOOK AT THIS>>>The nutritional facts PER LINK are a heart-stopping 240 calories/190 fat calories, 21 grams of total fat, with 7 grams of saturated fat, 50mg of Cholesterol, 650mg of sodium, 5 grams of total carbs and 9 grams of protein.
Holy defibrillator, Batman! Makes that “Mayo’ Mango Madness” post just before this sound like an endorsement from Jenny Craig. lol
Here’s how they look uncooked out of the package…
There are eight links (actually cut from a longer length) in each package. Each link (uncooked) measures approximately 5-1/2″ length x 5/8″ diameter.
The ingredients are: Pork, Pork Fat, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Salt, Grain Alcohol, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Erythorbate, In Beef Collagen Casing.
There are several other brands out there that I can’t remember the names top of mind. I do remember an onolicious looking package of Lup Cheong they had for sale at the Vegas808 snack shop in the California Hotel. It was made in California, and the girl who worked there said it was superior to the ones we have on our store shelves. I should have bought a package. Oh well, next time.
But there’s gotta’ be more than just Lup Cheong & Rice, right? Of course!
Fellow food blogger, “Hyn Pake”, likes to use it as a topping on his favorite home-style pork hash dish. A few local convenience stores offer Lup Cheong Musubi and even a Lup Cheong Manapua. It’s also great in stir-fried rice and noodles, and as a mega-powered flavor enhancer with steamed chicken or fish. And you just know what’s gonna’ be joining the group the next time I make Andadogs. lol
With that said, Melveen “Da Tita” Leed was a guest on Harry’s Kitchen (remember that KHON2 cooking show?) a long time ago, and I never forgot the Butterfish and Lup Cheong dish she prepared. It looked so ono! From that idea, I came up with a twist on the dish and did a steamed Monchong with Lup Cheong and Chinese Ginger Pesto, which came out fantastic.
Luckily, her recipe has been preserved online at the suresave.com recipe website, so the other night I decided to try it out!
Melveen Leed’s Steamed Butter Fish Ualapue Style
2 pieces Butterfish (either frozen or fresh), cut into bite-sized pieces
4 Chinese Lup Cheong Sausages, sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 small piece of Ginger Root, crushed
1 block of Tofu (firm)
4 leaves of Mustard Cabbage
1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce (look for “woman on boat” pictured on the bottle-it’s the best for cooking)
1/4 Cup Chinese Parsley
1/4 Cup Green Onions
Place butterfish in loaf pan. Scatter garlic and ginger root on fish. Place Lup Cheong pieces in pan. Add Oyster Sauce and steam for 10 minutes. Add mustard cabbage just before serving and steam for one minute and serve.
Here’s the fresh (uncooked) butterfish…
As the name implies, butterfish is indeed a fatty, oily fish. The only gripe I have is that it has too many pin-bones. Otherwise, it’s very moist and tasty.
So I put everything in a small pan as directed…
The 2 butterfish steaks are covered with lup cheong, minced ginger and garlic, with cubed firm tofu scattered around it and sprinkled generously with chopped green onions and cilantro, then drizzled with oyster sauce. I poured about a 1/4 cup of Sake (my own add-on) for added moisture and to enhance the flavors.
Then I covered all that with chopped Bok Choy cabbage…
Then drizzled a little more oyster sauce on the Bok Choy for flavor. Then covered it and put it in the oven.
It took much longer than the 10 minutes cooking time instructed on the recipe. More like 35 minutes total time, which isn’t that bad. This was in a 350 degree F. oven on bake. There’s a lot of water in the cabbage, which added even more “sauce” in the pan when it was done. Adding to the flavor of the sauce was the drippings from the fish and lup cheong, as well as the oyster sauce.
So here’s the plated dish…
Let me start by noting that I wasn’t happy with the presentation of this dish, and didn’t have a chance to redo it, as I had already served out the pan. It just looks sloppy. Next time I’d plate it differently.
One thing I think could have improved on was to cook it a bit longer. The fish was perfectly moist and tender, but the Lup Cheong was a bit undercooked, as was the fresh minced ginger and garlic.
Another thing I’d change is the fish. Like I said, Butterfish has all them pin-bones. I’d definately do a Monchong or Ono fillet next time. Not a steak. Salmon would probably also do well. Shoot, try it with chicken! I used Shirakiku brand oyster sauce, which I think is just as good as the Lee Kum Kee brand. It really worked well here.
Still! This dish has MAJOR potential. The tofu and Bok Choy round it out brilliantly, and they take on the flavors of the butterfish and Lup Cheong like nobody’s business. Aside of the undercooked ingredients mentioned, my girlfriend was HIGHLY impressed with it.
Look at how tender and moist this butterfish came out…
See how the skin is just falling off, and it’s just flaking apart. Yum. What you can’t see is the sweet and bold Lup Cheong flavor it has imparted within, along with the deep flavor of the oyster sauce. Oh yeah. I can see easily paying over $30 for this dish in a restaurant, depending where you’re talking about. I would say take the basic recipe here and use your cooking sensibility to make it YOUR OWN. I can almost guarantee you’ll love it.
If you have any other ideas for using Lup Cheong beyond accompanying a bowl of rice, and are able to “look the other way” regarding those staggering nutritional numbers, leave a comment and let’s hear about it!
• Key Ingredient: Lup Cheong – Star Bulletin