i was watching “the search for the next iron chef” yesterday and the challenge was to create a classic american meal with a distinctly asian touch. one of the contenders made a siomai or a steamed dumpling whose filling was “all-american meatloaf” (yup, complete with ketchup in the mix). i think he nearly lost. he.he. he was second to the last. it turned out he didn’t know how to make a good siomai dough — it turned out to be chewy and rubbery.
anyway, my mom made a batch of embutido recently. embutido is normally “special occasion” food but if you think about it’s very economical because you can make a lot of rolls with a few kilos of meat, eggs, cheese, cream, pickles, and chopped ham (alternatives to this are luncheon meat or sausages).
traditionally, they “secured” the rolls by using the stomach lining from pigs, which looks like jiggly spider web. apart from providing additional fat, moisture and flavor to the ground meat, it also kept the roll from breaking up. however, for practicality, most now use tin foil in making the rolls to help them hold their shape while steaming (or boiling).
the pan droppings during the steaming process is usually mixed with cream, cheese and flour (or breadcrumbs) to make a gravy. some prefer ketchup, too. personally i prefer the first one because it has much more flavor. i also like the embotido when it is fried. you cut slices, then fry them on butter or lard. frying imbues it with a nutty flavor. it goes well with rice or as filling for sandwiches, too.
too bad, the iron chef contestant should have known about our embutido before he went there. 🙂