Monday, June 8, 2009

Pork Leg With Soy Beans

pork trotters

An absolutely delicious dish cooked by my MIL. I won't even bother to cook this myself because Hub has just joked that my Shanghainese dishes are 'slightly' second rate to his mom's. I tell him if that's so it's because the teacher didn't teach me all her tricks.

You must have heard about the pig trotter-eating trend that started from Japan last year and reached as far as New York, where the beauty conscious are dining on pig trotters in a bid to replenish their aging bodies with collagen. The idea is that instead of injecting collagen into their faces, which may result in uneven contours and strange expressions, not forgetting the pain of the needles, eating collagen will naturally put back the glow and plumpness that time and stress have robbed. The Chinese have long known this, and pig skin was something the previous generation left on their pork; it is never discarded and in fact is sought after for the taste and bite. Pig leg in sweet black vinegar (a serious YUM!) is a dish most Chinese moms, MILs and confinement nannies will cook for new mothers, and friends of the new mothers look forward to eating when visiting the new mom and baby, so I'm sure there's something to this tradition. I am in the in-between generation, eating trotters' skin once in a while when it's served but my kids don't touch any pig skin at all, although lately Wey realized that he liked pig trotters for their tendons. I do believe that when we get into middle age, we shouldn't be too skinny or we'll have that weathered taut look. Look at AJ. Okay, she is still hot, but like a hot, tired and aged 40 something and that thin body looks like it's having trouble holding up her head, which is too big, literal and otherwise. What she needs is a good meal of pig trotters.

There isn't any meat in trotters (just skin and tendons) and in KK, the section from the knee to the trotters is sold in one piece. I shall call that section the lower leg. The shank, upper part of the lower leg, has quite a bit of meat though. Have the butcher cut the lower leg into small pieces through the bone but not through the bottom piece of skin so that the skin still holds the whole lower leg together. When you get home, you can wash the leg, then cut into smaller pieces. Don't reduce the amount of soy beans because they soak up the sauce and become very tasty; in my family, we fight for the beans as much as we fight for that perfect piece of pork--the piece with some meat, lots of tendon and lean skin. Since this dish needs slow cooking for more than 3 hours, it's a good idea to cook more so you can freeze some of it.

Move over SK II, I've found a cheaper fountain of youth, and I can eat it too.

Stewed Pig Leg With Soy Beans

1 pig shank & trotters (the lower leg), cut into 6 cm X 6 cm pieces
2 cups dried soy beans
1 cup dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked until soft n sliced into half
1/2 cup Kikkoman soy sauce*
1/3 cup Lee Kum Kee selected dark soy sauce*
50 g fresh ginger, in thick slices
50 g rock sugar*
1/2 t salt
4-5 T shaoxin wine

*Adjust the amount to your liking because the lower leg can vary in size

1. Soak the soy beans overnight. Put the soaked beans into a medium-sized pot, add water until it is 5 cm above the beans. Simmer for 1- 1 1/2 hours. Drain.

2. Boil some water and blanch the pieces of leg. Drain, throw away the water.

3. Put about 2 T veg oil in a large pot, fry the ginger until fragrant, add the leg and fry until the skin curls and contracts.

4. Add the soy sauces, sugar, salt and wine and enough water to just cover the trotters. When the dish comes to a boil, lower the heat until just simmering and cook until skin n meat are tender and very soft, but not falling off the bone and the beans are soft and filled with the flavor of the sauce. This can take 2 hours or more. Stir once in a while. There shouldn't be too much liquid or too little when the dish is done. Too much and the flavor is diluted and the sauce will be too runny; the sauce should be slightly thick. If this is the case, turn the heat up, take off the lid and let the sauce reduce but make sure you stir once in a while. Don't reduce the sauce too much or it will be too salty and there won't be enough sauce to go around. This is a good dish to eat hot with plain boiled rice.


Zurin said...

Hahahahahahah send this to Angelina Jolie pleeease! LOLOL
yes I agree one shdnt get too thin when middle aged...

terri@adailyobsession said...

zurin:haha, so u agree :D

My Food Adventure said...

I've cooked this and It was superDelicious!!!
Worth my effort of boiling the Soya beans for so long!!
I didn't Add any sugar but The Natural Sweetness from the Beans, pork and everything Created a Wonderful Sauce!!

Thank you aunty!


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