Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sweet Vineger Pork Leg

Asians especially have this thing about confinement after birth. We call it 'Sit Month' which in all Chinese dialects means sitting (or rather not laying down) for one whole month. I still cant figure out why but then again I had not given birth to appreciate the fact which most old people or the older generation insist " it is good for you. you dont do it now, later you will know"

Besides being confined to your house or a room for one whole month, most mothers have to take tonic and super nutritious stuff to help recovery. Never see that with ang mos though(they all go out after 2 days with the baby somemore). Foochow has the Mee Sua with lots of homemade red wine, Hakka has the Ka Ca Ma (Herby chicken mixture with lots of homemade white and red wine which only 'connoisuers' can appreciate) and the Cantonese generally has the Sweet Vineger Pork Leg (Cu Jiao Chu). Really should be blogging about the Foochow mee sua first but heay this one is as nice and Ka Ca Ma is yummy too if you cook it the right way.

Then again i love all confinement foods and therefore if they are any confinement parties given by the new parents, i am always there. But please dont ask me to give birth myself ah and dont ask why.

Cu Jiao Chu for new mothers are slightly more complicated with the preparation of ginger and vineger and sugar brewed a week or two before birth. So that the gingers are well soaked and perserved in earthern jars. On the big day itself and when needed, the cook will cook the pork with the preserved liquid and ginger and mothers will have this almost everyday for the next month or so and giving it away is a way of informing people that your wife has given birth. But who says you cant eat it for dinner.

1 no (about 1.5 to 2kg) of pork leg including hock
1 big slab of ginger
1 clove of garlic
4 pieces of dried chillis
5-6 pieces of sour plums
8-10 Tbsp of sweet vineger
6-8 Tbsp of dark soya
4-6 Tbsp of sugar
Water to cover
1 pot of boiling water
3 Tbsp of cooking oil

1) Clean well and cut pork leg into small pieces. Can ask your butcher for help. Put pork leg pieces in pot of hot boiling water to clean out the blood and rid the smell (esp important for those in Australia, pork there has a smell) for about 5 min or so. Dish out and wash with cold water.

2) Scrap ginger clean and break into smaller pieces. Mash it wil back of chopper knife. Cut off the bottom ends of garlic.

3) Heat pot with oil and stir fry ginger garlic and dry chillis til fragrant. Add pork leg pieces and continue frying til slightly yellowish. Add the others ~ sour plums with a little of the juice, dark soya and sweet vineger and sugar. Finally enough water to cover. Simmer for an hour or so til all meat is tender and you can even eat the ginger if you like it. Add some for sugar, sweet vineger or salt to taste before serving.

Use bulldog brand SWEET vineger or any others SWEET ones. It must be 'tien ding chu' translated 'Add child vineger' . Cannot substitute will black sour vineger or white vineger.
Do not overcook the dish. Meat will become too lean and chewy while skins fall off.

This modified way of cooking is nice and simple and really really yummy with plain rice. Anyway, the new mothers way is soooo nutritious that you prob get a nose bleed if you cant take the 'heat'.

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