Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pork Leg Foochow style

If the wedding feast was to have twelve tables, then the host would prepare 3 pigs to be slaughtered. Normally a year or two before the marriage took place, the host would make a selection of the pigs from his pig farm. A hardworking Foochow man would keep about ten pigs with one or two main mother pigs as starters. His wife and daughters would be the main personnel in charge of feeding and cleaning the pigs besides helping him out with rubber tapping.

I have very good memories of feeding pigs and helping my cousins carry latex from the rubber gardens. The smells of the pigs and rubber were especially unique. However the smell I love most until today is the smell of the rubber smoke house. It conjured good wealth and happiness. Sometimes I imagine that I can smell a wisp of that nostalgic smell of smoking rubber.

Steamed Pork Leg Foochow Style


l leg of pork (enough for 10)
4 Tbsp pounded white or black pepper
4 Tbsp black soy sauce
10 large black dried mushrooms (soaked and cleaned)
10 dried water chestnuts (soaked)
2 Bombay onions (quartered)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 stalks spring onions ( sliced for garnishing)
half a bottle of Amoy Can pickled vegetables (optional)
2 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsp cooking oil
salt to taste

1. Rub down the leg of pork with 2 Tbsp black soy sauce and salt and pepper. Leave to marinade for an hour
2. Heat oil in a wok and put the leg of pork in. Cook each side for about 5 to 8 minutes to get the skin to blister a little. Avoid burning the skin. Take the leg out and place in a big dish or deep bowl.
3. Preparation of the sauce : Heat up the oil in the wok again. Stir fry the onions till soft and a littlebrown . Add the mushrooms and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar and stir until it caramelizes. Add the rest of the soy sauce and half of the pickled vegetables (chilli,carrot,etc) including the vinegar,water chestnuts. Bring to the boil.
4. Pour the sauce over the pork leg.
5. Steam the leg in a steamer for about 1- 1 1/2 hours. By then the pork leg would be tender and could be cut by a chop stick.
6. Decorate with spring onions.

This dish is a little sweet and a little sour. So do not use so much vinegar if you like it to be just sweet . Different soy sauce brand would make a difference in the taste. The best thick soy sauce to me is the Pearl River Brand, Mushroom Soy, made in China. I might be prejudiced. But that depends on what is available in our life.

This dish looks a bit complicated but it is quite simple actually.


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