Cha que (cinnamon pate)

Yield: 1 Appetizer

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Boneless pork (weight after trimming fat), preferable fresh ham
3 tablespoons Fish sauce (nuoc mam)
3 tablespoons Water
½ tablespoon Potato starch or rice flour
½ teaspoon Granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Baking powder
\N dash MSG (optional)
\N \N Sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Pork fat
½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon

This recipe is very tasty with an interesting texture. Unless you're a fan of hard work, use a food processor. The pate was originally pounded to the proper consistency in a mortar and pestle... It can be used all sorts of ways++made into balls for soup, sliced after cooking and added to lettuce or rice paper rolls, served with shrimp chips for munchies++whatever inspires you. The cinnamon flavor is discernible but not overpowering. I've actually made this recipe and found it to be a keeper.

Be sure pork is trimmed of all fat. Slice the meat ¼ inch thick, then cut into 1 inch squares. Make a marinade by combining all the remaining ingredients, except for the pork fat and cinnamon, in a large bowl. Add the pork slices to the marinade and mix well with your hands, then cover the bowl with wrap or foil. Refrigerate for 5 hours, and after that period of time has elapsed, transfer the bowl to the freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pork from the freezer, add the cinnamon, and reduce to a paste in a food processor only. Boil the pork fat for 10 minutes and dice into small pieces, the size of whole peppercorns. Add the diced pork fat to the ground pork mixture.

Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with oil. Put the meat paste into the pan and press down firmly with your hands, making sure the surface is smooth. The meat will come halfway up the side of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the pate for 40 minutes or until the surface looks brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then slice and serve as an appetizer or with French bread for lunch or dinner, or use in any recipe where it is required. It can be eaten hot or cold.

This will keep fresh in the refrigerator for a week, or it can be stored for a longer period in the freezer. To reheat, wrap in foil and place in a 300F oven for 15 minutes.

From "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam", Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron's, 1979.

Posted by Stephen Ceideburg August 28 1990.

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