May 23, 2014
Nang Chong Stories : Tinned Peas with Chicken or Duck Livers,and giblets
Every Foochow household in Sibu must keep a few tins of green peas during the days when refrigeration was unknown. However even today many Foochow housewives must keep a few tins of peas in their cupboards. JIC or Just in Case relatives come to visit.
The peas are essential in several dishes which the Foochow housewives can whip up in an instant. This was often the complementary dish, or side dish whenever the Foochow housewives slaughter a duck or chicken to welcome their visitors. This was also to ensure that all parts of the fowl (except the feathers of course) were used up in their cooking. Tinned peas were a luxury and were very presentable (face saving) dish in those days.
This dish was a favoured dish for home catered wedding banquets in the Nang Chong villages in the 50's and 60's. When the tins were opened carefully, housewives would keep them to measure rice or to measure chicken feed. Sometimes the tins , as they do not get rusty, are useful as rustic home made scoops, with a wooden handle to scoop water or pig food. Foochow housewives never threw away any useful things and recycling was a normal behaviour. They did not have to go to school to learn about it.
Peas cooked with chicken or duck livers and giblets were a luxury (Hor Liau) and only eaten during the Chinese New Year or festivals. Today we usually prepare it when we have visits to keep the old fashioned dish popular.
I like to prepare a good pea soup. Just chicken stock and a tin or two of peas with lots of sliced onions.
Today, when we can obtain a pork hock, for example in the supermarket, we can make a very good pork hock,ham and pea soup which is a meal in itself in winter.
Peas are popular vegetables in China and especially Fujian. It is no wonder our forefathers loved to eat them.