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?
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.
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.
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.