This Mid Autumn Festival, we’re bringing new traditions to the table. Whether the name of your celebration is Chuseok, Tết Trung Thu, Tsukimi, or Lantern Festival, we hope you’re finding joy like us in learning what it means to celebrate the moon, a bountiful harvest, and togetherness in changing times.
Jing here, rounding out our Mid Autumn Festival celebrations here at Fly By Jing this year with my own interpretation of Shanghainese Savory Pork mooncakes, adapted from Betty Liu's recipe in her amazing cookbook My Shanghai.
Celebrations have looked different lately, and will continue to transform as the world does, too. With that comes the melancholy of departing with old traditions, but also the joys of crafting new ways to celebrate together. I’m leaning into the latter these days. Happy gathering!
SHANGHAINESE SAVORY PORK MOONCAKES
For the filling
1 tsp minced ginger
½ lb/225g ground pork (substitute Beyond or Impossible Meat for a vegan version!)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
Pinch of ground white pepper
For the dough paste
1 cup plus 3 tbsp/158g all-purpose flour
½ cup/110g pork lard or softened unsalted butter (substitute with coconut oil, ghee or other rendered animal fat)
For the dough
1 ¾ cups/225g all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
3 tbsp pork lard or softened unsalted butter (substitute with coconut oil, ghee or other rendered animal fat)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
½ cup/120ml boiling water, plus more as needed
1 large egg
Making the filling:
In a medium bowl, add the pork, sugar, cornstarch, wine, both soy sauces, the sesame oil, minced ginger, water, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Wet your hands slightly to prevent sticking, then divide the meat mixture evenly into 16 balls (each about 1 rounded tablespoon) and place on a baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate to firm up while preparing the dough.
Making the dough paste:
In a medium bowl, mix the flour and lard with a silicone spatula or your hands until they form a dough. The paste should just hold together: it will be dry and flaky but still oily. Shape into 16 small balls on another baking sheet, and cover lightly with plastic wrap.
Making the dough:
In a large heatproof bowl, mix the flour, lard, sugar and salt. Stream in the boiling water and mix with a silicone spatula to form a dough. When cool enough to handle, use your hands to knead the dough until it is very smooth with no lumps, adding more water or flour as needed for dough that is tacky but not sticky. Divide the dough into 16 balls (each about 1 rounded tablespoon) on a separate baking sheet and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough paste and dough rest for 20 minutes.
Assembling the mooncakes:
Heat oven to 400 degrees, then begin assembly. Place a ball of the dough in one palm and use the other to press it into a flat disk. Take a ball of the paste and place in the center. Bring the sides of the dough up and around the paste ball, encasing it.
With a lightly floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, flatten this ball of dough into a flat, long and thin oval. Starting from the bottom narrow end of the oval, roll the dough into a log. Set aside under plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, keeping the logs under plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Rest for 10 minutes.
Vertically position a log and flatten with a rolling pin, rolling up and down, to form a long oval. Roll it up again into a log, lightly flouring the rolling pin and surface as necessary. Flatten it with your palm, and using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a thin circle, about 4-inches wide. Repeat with the remaining logs.
Add the meat filling: Place a ball of meat inside the circle. Pleat the dough around the meat and pinch to close. Pinch off any excess dough. Flip the ball over, gently press with your palm to flatten it slightly, and set it on a baking sheet, covering it loosely with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with all the remaining dough and meat.
In a small bowl, make the egg wash by combining the egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the mooncakes with the egg wash and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve while hot. Mooncakes will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days refrigerated or for several months frozen.