The unique meat pie is a lot like Chinese Scallion Pancakes. It is a traditional snack and a common street food throughout China. Tasty meat patties in pastry, no matter what form it takes in the East or West, always make a delicious and moreish meal.
The charm of this Chinese meat pie comes from its crispiness. Its crust is made up of layers of dough that are as thin as paper. After being fried, the outer layer will be crisp, and the filling tender and juicy. The thickness of the dough that wraps the filling is the key to the success or failure of this meat pie. The thinner the dough, the crispier it will be, but the more difficult it is to roll out.
So, if you want to make this Chinese snack well, you need to do it right. There is no other way to do it, besides continuous practice.
Ingredients for Filling:
- 250 g beef. Try to select pieces that have a bit of fat on them but are also thin. If the meat has sinew and ligaments, they must be removed.
- ½ teaspoon Chinese peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons peanut oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 50g green onions
- 300 g plain flour
- 160 ml warm water
- peanut oil
The first step is to make the filling. Beef has a strong aroma so the addition of green onions, ginger and pepper are essential in this recipe. Place the peppercorns in a small saucepan and dry fry them on the stove until they are brittle. Toss often so as not to burn them.
When they are cooked, place the peppercorns into a mortar and grind them. The freshly ground pepper powder has a more fragrant aroma and a stronger taste.
Using a knife, cut the beef into small cubes of half a centimeter. The meat should resemble mince when you are done, however, be sure to not chop it as finely as minced beef or it will lose some of its taste.
Place the diced beef in a large bowl and grate the ginger into it.
Next, take half of the ground pepper out of the mortar (only half!) and add the soy sauce, salt, and peanut oil. Stir everything in the same direction and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.
The second step is making the dough. It is best to use a wooden chopping board for making these Chinese style noodles.
Take the flour and pile it on the center of the chopping board. Use a scraper or something similar to make a “well” at the center. The diameter of the well should be as large as possible so that the water will not escape. Pour the warm water (approximately 35 degrees Celsius) into the well.
Use your fingers to continuously mix the flour on the inside, into the “well” of water. Try to be as gentle as possible. When it has become like a batter in the middle and has thickened, you can mix all the flour into it and make it into the dough.
Continue to knead the dough by hand, until it has a smooth, even and elastic texture. Gently rub a thin layer of peanut oil all over the dough, wrap it in plastic and let the dough sit for 20 minutes. Letting the dough sit is a key part of this process because the dough will become smoother.
The third step, while the dough is resting, is to chop the green onions finely and place in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a while.
The fourth step is making the crispy beef meat pies. First spread enough peanut oil onto the cutting board so that the patties will not stick to it.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Place one portion back into the plastic wrap (so it doesn’t dry out) for later use. Divide the other into 6 equal-sized portions and roll these by hand into strips about 8 cm in length. Spread a layer of peanut oil onto the surface of each portion and then arrange them in a row in the order that you will be rolling them in.
Take one strip (beginning with the first roll), keeping the direction you roll in the same as that of rolling the strips. Roll each portion so that they are flat, with a width of about 8 cm.
Now, you will need to roll each portion so that they are as long as possible (make the direction you are rolling in, the same as before). First, you must brush enough peanut oil onto the chopping board and then place the dough piece on it.
Using a rolling pin starting from one end, roll to the other while pushing on it at the same time. This method is different from the commonly used method of just rolling the dough. The rolling pin slides while rolling, which stretches the dough thinner as you go. That’s why it is necessary to pour enough peanut oil on the chopping board so that the dough can slide freely on the surface, making it more difficult to tear. If the dough is rolled out correctly, it should look like this:
Place a small amount of the beef mixture (about 25 grams) on one end of the dough, and sprinkle a little bit of the green onions on top.
Next, sprinkle over some ground pepper from the mortar.
Now you can start wrapping up the meat pie.
As you roll it forward, you need to make sure you are constantly folding in the two sides of the dough and at the same time wrap it tightly.
When rolling, you also need to press the meat pie into a round shape with your fingers. When you have rolled it to the end, its shape should resemble a Chinese chess piece.
Press the end of the dough against the bottom of the meat pies.
Place the cakes in order as you finish them and press them all down with your fingers.
When you press them, you will notice that the cakes feel like elastic. When you notice this, you must not press them too hard. You can shape one and let it relax while you shape another, then go back to the previous one and shape again.
The next step is to cook the meat pie. Take a flat-bottomed non-stick pan, add some peanut oil and arrange the beef patties on the bottom. Cook them on medium heat.
Fry until golden and then flip the patties over, until the other side is golden. When the patties are cooked, the question that almost everyone asks about, is whether the fillings are cooked or not. This is based on experience and feelings. Unlike roast chicken and grilled meat, you can use a thermometer. I worked out a good way to tell: If the cakes break open, the filling should be cooked. When making broilers or patties by hand, it is common for the filling to burst out of the skin. This is especially true for thin skins and large fillings. Even professional master chefs cannot stop this happening, so don’t get discouraged if this happens.
These meat pies must be eaten as soon as possible. They are crispy and the fillings are juicy and delicious. They hot on the inside, so be careful when you bite into them that you don’t burn your mouth.