• Pork, dried beancurd sticks & shiitake mushrooms braised in pork bone stock. Served over rice (Basmati).
The braise was a two-day affair. Of course, that did not mean I was standing over it for two days. :-)
Step 1: Pork bone stock, this particular version: Meaty pork bones (shin & knuckle bones mostly, lots of marrow; some meat still attached; about 3 lbs) were boiled in water for ~5+ minutes or so, everything dumped in the sink, the bones washed/rinsed under cool running water while rubbing off debris and congealed blood;§ placed into a fresh clean pot, fresh cold water added to cover the bones plus an inch more, salted lightly, some slices of fresh ginger added and the mixture brought to a boil then simmered gently on low flame for about 4-5 hours. The heat was shut off and the mix left overnight (tightly covered) on the stove. It was reheated the next day, a handful of big red-black Chinese jujubes¶ added and simmering continued for another 2-3 hours, allowed to cool, the bones removed and the stock filtered through cheesecloth and reserved. Lots of gelatin in the stock which had a pleasant intense porky flavor w/ the distinct aroma & taste of the jujubes.
Step 2: Fresh shiitake mushrooms (From farmers' market) were de-stemmed, washed and reserved. Dried beancurd sticks ("Fu Chook"; (圓枝)腐竹; Yale Cantonese: fu6 juk1) [Imperial Taste brand] were broken into shorter lengths and soaked for a while to soften. Fresh pork (USAmerican "country-style" boneless, slightly fatty) was cut against the grain into slices somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inches in thickness. The stock was reheated, some crushed garlic cloves put in, followed by the pork & softened beancurd stick pieces, then later by the mushrooms and everything simmered for about an hour or so. Salting (sea salt) was adjusted, and the mix left to meld overnight.
§ This parboiling process is known in Chinese as "飛水", literally "Fly Water". p.s. "Fly" as in movement through the air on wings, not that pesky insect. In this case one could think of it as "the bones flying through hot water, briefly". :-)
¶ I used the big variety sold/known as “Tai Nam Chou” (大南棗) (sort-of-smoked large Chinese jujubes).