I know, some people don’t like pork feet, they think it is a strange part of the animal. But, If you know how to cook it right, it can be soft, tender and flavorful. A lot of Chinese people consider it as one of the most delicious parts on the pig.
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Braised Pork Trotter with Chinese Bean Curd
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BLANCHING
- - 2 pig feet 2.5 pounds
- - 5-7 slices of ginger
- - 2 pieces of scallion
- - 2 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BRAISING
- - 2 pieces of Chinese bean curd 腐乳 Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2kfoJ7z
- - 1 tsp of five-spice powder Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2SylftG
- - 1/2 tsp of red yeast powder optiona(Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2y3Jhn1
- - 3 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2RW4KWG
- - 3 tbsp of soy sauce Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2KS8wOE
- - 3 tbsp of cooking oil
- - 2 shallots to make the fried garlic
- - 7 cloves of garlic 4 for making the fried garlic, 3 for stir-frying
- - 3 tbsp of sugar
- - 4 slices of ginger
- - a bunch of scallions
- - 1 piece of cinnamon stick Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2lfzcQC
- - 2 pieces of bay leaves Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2K108wb
- - 2 pieces of star anise Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2lMJx6Y
- - 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn (花椒 Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2kfFU91）
- - Few pieces of red dry chilies optionally Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2lLxrLo
- - 1.5 liter of water
- - 2 tsp of salt or to taste
- - Remove the pig hair if there is any or ask your butcher to do it for you. Mine is pretty clean though. Cut the pork trotter into smaller chunks. If you don’t like pork feet, you can use ham hock or even change to beef shank if that is more acceptable for you.
- - Put them in a big pot along with some cold water. I used about 2.5 liters. Throw in some ginger slices, 2 pieces of scallion. I like to crush it to release the flavor. About 2 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine. Cover that, let it soak for about 2 hours. This is an important step. Pork feet has an unpleasant smell. Soaking will help to remove that.
- - Slice 2 shallots and 4 cloves of garlic thinly.
Make a sauce:
- - 2 pieces of Chinese fermented bean curd, 1 tsp of five-spice powder, 1/2 tsp of red yeast powder, 3 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine and 3 tbsp of soy sauce. Mix and set it aside.
- - Now let’s get back to the soaked trotters. You just turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, take the trotters out. Drain them completely and discard the whole pot of water.
- - In a wok, add about 3 tbsp of cooking oil. Don’t need to wait for the oil to get hot. Directly add in the sliced shallot and garlic. Fry them on low heat. Will take about 5 minutes on low heat to get them golden. Take them out and drain the oil.
- - Leave the oil in the wok, we will use that to brown the pork trotters. If you didn’t drain the trotters well, it will cause oil splashing which can be dangerous. Adjust the pieces so most of the skin touches the bottom of the wok. Give it a few minutes to fry. You want to get a nice golden brown color.
- - Once you think you get enough brown surface, turn the heat to low and add about 2-3 tbsp of sugar. Stir to caramelize the sugar but don’t burn it.
- - Turn off the heat and add the aromatic and spices: some ginger slices, some freshly crushed garlic, a bunch of scallion, 1 piece of cinnamon stick, 2 pieces of bay leaves, 2 pieces of star anise, a tsp of Sichuan peppercorn, few pieces of dry hot chilies. Turn the heat back on medium and stir everything until you can smell all those amazing aromas. Pour in the bean curd sauce that we just made. Give it a few stirs and dumpling in the fried shallots and garlic. Mix it for a minute or 2.
- - You can keep cooking it in the wok but I like to transfer it into a clay pot which is traditional cookware that we use in china. You can also use a slow cooker, instant pot, pressure cooker or cast iron dutch oven. Instant pot and pressure cooker will save you a lot of time though.
- - Pour in some hot water. If you use cold water, the skin will shrink which makes it a bit harder to cook until tender. Don’t forget to rinse the wok. We don’t want to waste all that good flavor. I used about 1.5 liters of water. Move it around to keep all the pieces are below the liquid.
- - Cover it and bring it to a boil. Once you can see the steam coming up, turn the heat to low. Simmer it for 1 -2 hours depends on how tender you want. I did it for 2 hours. And that is fall off bones tender. Besides the soy sauce, we haven’t added any salt yet. Taste and adjust it. I add about 2 tsp of salt in total. Once the flavor is right, stir and let it cook for another 5 minutes so the sodium can infuse the trotters better. Take it out. Garnish it with a little diced scallion. And you are ready to serve.