This recipe is based on a luxurious version of the homestyle dish that I ate at an upmarket restaurant in Hong Kong. The chefs there had hand-chopped the meat, which makes the texture so much better than pork that's ground in a mincer, and they also used a fatty cut (I use skinless pork belly). Hand-mincing takes some patience and very sharp knives; you should freeze the meat slightly, so it's firmer. It's a lot of work, though, and I won't blame you if you decide to ask the butcher to put the meat through the grinder.
Buy a whole dried cuttlefish, not the shredded type sold as a snack; the whole cuttlefish is less salty and the texture is different. It should be soaked until pliable, then the skin needs to be peeled off (it comes off easily). If you can't find dried cuttlefish or dislike it, leave it out.
Chun pei (dried tangerine peel) comes in segments that are usually attached at the base; for this dish, you need one or two segments, depending on how much you like the distinctive flavour. You can soak the chun pei in the same bowl as the cuttlefish.
Because this dish tastes best hot, I divide the mixture into two portions and pat it into two dishes. I steam one to serve immediately then steam the other while everyone is eating, so it's ready when the diners want seconds. If you like, you can make one larger meat patty and steam it all at once (it will need 30-40 minutes to cook it).
Rinse the dried cuttlefish and chun pei under running water then put them in a bowl and add warm water to cover. Leave to soak until the cuttlefish is pliable, about an hour.
If you’re hand-mincing the pork, freeze it for about 20 minutes, then slice it as thinly as possible. Use a very sharp cleaver (or two cleavers, one in each hand) to mince the meat. (Alternatively, have the butcher coarsely grind it.)
Put the minced meat into a bowl and mix in the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch.
Peel off and discard the tough skin from the dried cuttlefish, then cut it into small pieces. Squeeze the water from the chun pei, then finely chop it. Finely mince the ginger. Peel the fresh water chestnuts and rinse them thoroughly before cutting them into small dice. Add these ingredients to the bowl with the pork.
Clean the fresh squid. Pull the tentacles from the body. Peel off and discard the skin. Slit open the body on one side, then scrape out and discard the innards. Cut off and discard the face and beak from the tentacles. Finely chop the body and tentacles, then add the pieces to the bowl with the meat and other ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Divide the mixture into two even portions and put them into two shallow bowls. Flatten the ingredients to make meat patties about 1.5cm (⅔in) thick. Heat water in a tiered steamer (or in a wok with a metal rack) and, when the water boils, place one of the bowls in the steamer and cover with the lid. Steam over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the pork patty is cooked.
While the meat patty is steaming, mince the spring onions. When the meat is cooked, remove the dish from the steamer, scatter half the spring onions on top and serve immediately. Cook the second dish (you’ll need to add more boiling water to the steamer) while eating the first portion, and when it's ready, scatter with the remaining spring onions
For salted egg pork patty, make the dish as above, but leave out the chun pei, dried cuttlefish and fresh squid. After patting the meat mixture into two dishes, top each portion with a salted egg yolk (discard the white) and steam as instructed. Sprinkle with spring onion then serve.
For salted fish pork patty, make the dish as above, but leave out the chun pei, ginger, dried cuttlefish and fresh squid. After patting the meat mixture into two dishes, top each portion with a small meaty slice (about 1.5cm x 4cm or ⅔ x 1½in) of salted fish that has been rinsed briefly under running water. Peel several thin slices of ginger, then finely julienne them. Put the ginger over the fish and steam as instructed. Scatter the spring onion on top before serving.