January 10, 2012

A Mother's Simple Cooking

What dish would you cook for your children when they come home after a long absence? It is a roasted chicken? Or a Rendang? or a Curry Kapitan?


Simmered Tongue

If there is one favourite dish my family loves it is the simmered shouldered pork to which the cook may add a tongue or two.

Buy a fresh piece of meat in the morning and start the cooking by nine  if you wish to have a good midday meal.

This was certainly the kind of slow paced life we had in Sibu. Mum would walk to the meat market and choose her meat from her favourite butcher. The Chinese cut their pork in a different way from European butchers. So if you are reading this in the US or Australia you may have to make some adjustments.

Here's the simple recipe:

1. 1 1/2 kg of pork shoulder or belly pork (whole) and a tongue or two (cleaned). Marinade with a bit of salt.
2. Put to boil just enough water to cover the meat (depends on the pot you use)
3. Bring to the boil the water. Add three or four slices of ginger and some salt. The salt will depend on your family's taste. Some like this dish to be salty.
4. When the water is boiling add the meat and the tongue(s).
5. Let the water stay at high heat for quite a good half hour until the meat is tested cooked with no blood oozing out. Lower the heat and simmer for the next hour and half. Watch the pot constantly. The water should not dry up.
6. Just before serving add four (or less)  tablespoons of good xiao sin wine or Foochow red wine.
7. Reserve most of the soup for cooking of a good Chinese cabbage soup.
8. Serve the meat and tongue in a shallow platter. Slice the meat and serve with the soup just drenching it.
9. If you like a dipping sauce try using only the lightest of soy sauce with some chillies or a plain garlic chilli sauce from a bottle.

This dish certainly shows off the quality of good pork which is fresh and fragrant. The meat is well textured and smooth - almost melt in the mouth like a sponge cake does to your tongue. It is savoury and sweet at the same time. And once you have cooked pork this way you will find that it is an aroma which you miss when you are away from your mother's kitchen. Years ago when I was teaching in a rural school as a substitute teacher my mother sent this dish by motor launch! All at once the teaching stint became very bearable!!

Today such food delivery makes me think of the tiffin carriers still found in the cities of India!! How ingenious these delivery systems are!! But then this kind of food delivery system would take the five foot way hawkers and kopi tiams (coffee shops) off our remarkable cultural map!

The skin is gelatinous and today with greater interest in collagen this dish can offer just that sweet and soft layer of collagen .

The pig's tongue cooked in this manner is soft  and sweet for the palate. My grandmother loved this dish in the olden days. She used a traditional sauce called "pangi chiong" or small crab sauce which was home made. We all think that her choice of sauce for this dish was excellent. Unfortunately this home made dish has gone out of our culture because of global warming and rural-urban migration. The sauce is very difficult to find even in Sibu.

because pork dishes go well with sweet vegetables we cooked pumpkin as a side dish to go with this fragrant main dish.

Another dish which may bring the feast together is a nice soup of Chinese cabbage cooked with some fish balls.

A simple beansprout stir fry with some salted fish slices would also be a good idea.

(If you are on a low carb diet you can miss out the steamed rice and use pumpkin as a replacement.)

A good family meal should not be overwhelming in taste and aroma. Nor should it be too complicated in preparation.

12 comments:

sarawaklens said...

That tongue dish probably tastes nice but definitely not my cup of tea.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Sarawaklens...someone's delicacy is another person's mandrake. I understand....

William said...

I don't mind two tongues! Need to learn how to prepare it. Thanks for the recipe.

Ann said...

I like tongue, I like tendon, I like sow's ear. I like kidney.

Cantonese Low, eat everything until I married a fussy Hakka.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hahaha...William..this is a good way to prepare tongue and pork loin...come I can give you a demo...and we can have a good Foochow meal!!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann...tongue is excellent!! I love all the different tendons. foochows are worst than Cantonese I must say...

By the way...did you eat brains before your exams?

Ann said...

I didn't, my mum bought some for my young bro Joseph.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Anne ...may be your mum thought that you were smarter so you did not need any brains...no offence to Joseph...Boys have to eat lots of brains to carry on the family name......LOL I am not commenting too well when I am in a cross fire like this!! LOL...

Ann said...

we didn't have spare cash to have these tonic food, 9 kids. If you meet Joseph, he may tell you himself. His wife is Foochow, a Tiong from Sarikei.

Ann said...

p/s, the eatery I was at this afternoon, I looked at their menu. they serve pigs brain.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Haahaaa...Ann, sorry about the late reply. I am wondering if I could ever have the chance to meet up with Joseph and his wife...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Really Pigs' Brains...please tell me the name of this outlet....wonderful.