Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
sheepish

Chinese preparations for pig's heads

Recommended Posts

sheepish   

I've got a few pigs heads I really need to use up because they are taking up valuable freezer space. I've made plenty of brawn in the past, but I want to do something different with these, and not as fiddly as TFL recipe for rolled head!

I'm guessing there must be some good chinese style recipes for head? They seem to value pork fat, and let's face it, that's mostly what a head is. I'm thinking the steam and then crisp approach must be good, but would welcome any experience, or real recipes. Fuschia Dunlop has let me down for once :-)

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sheepish   

Well, I'm guessing there isn't much experience of this on the forum, so I thought I'd have a go. I've no idea how "traditional" this is, but I based it on a recipe for belly pork from Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Cookbook.

First take your pig's head. Remove remaining hair. I think a razor does this best, but a blow torch does it fastest. I use a blow torch. You really need to give it a good scrape with a sharp knife after that to remove as much bristle as possible.

4181179196_347d8d4684.jpg

Remove the meat and skin in one piece. It wouldn't be the end of the world if it came off in a few pieces, but it's easier to handle later in a single piece. I did this at lunchtime and wasn't going to cook with it for a few hours so I popped it in a plastic bag with some crushed ginger, garlic, salt and shaosing wine. I'm not sure if that made much difference to the finished dish.

4180416641_ce9a85cab7.jpg

Place head in pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes.

4180417113_9500ebf71d.jpg

Dry head on a towel. Rub with shaosing wine. Not too much - it's going to splatter you next.

4181180662_a165104ea1.jpg

Fry in hot oil for 3-4 minutes.

4181181130_9eb27e2d18.jpg

Drain on paper towels.

4180418459_8305c8157f.jpg

Place skin side down and slice into approx 1cm wide slices. Nothing longer than about 8cm. Lay slices in a ceramic bowl with the skin touching the bowl. Sprinkle with 3tbsp salted black beans, 2tbsp light soy sauce and 2tbsp dark soy sauce. Place bowl in a steamer and steam for 1.5 - 2 hours.

4181181950_ee31249b98.jpg

There's no hiding there is a lot of fat and gelatinous skin in this. Ideally I would have served with better pickled veg - something crunchy that had been in brine for a few days, but plenty of plain and pickled veg is going to be best for this I think. Here it's with some bean sprouts dressed with rice wine vinegar, chilli, garlic, light soy sauce and coriander. Green peppers fried in hot oil for a few mins and dressed with a little salt and rice wine vinegar. And some steamed brocolli tossed in hot oil and chopped ginger, with sesame seed oil drizzled on in the bowl.

4180419499_630649f065.jpg

Get the snout before somebody else does!

4180419969_4ba844bbba.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ce'nedra   

Wow that's gorgeous (perhaps not aesthetically but gosh it looks like it'll taste fantastic). Bravo bravo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hzrt8w   

I am glad you found a way to cook your pig heads and enjoyed them, sheepish.

But be honest pig heads (just the heads) are not on any Chinese menu that I know. Cantonese/Shanghainese/Sichuanese/etc.

Cantonese do roast a whole pig with the head. And we use the roast pig head for offerrings to the Gods/Goddesses. But to my knowledge we don't cook just the head. Probably because there really isn't much edible part. Pig ear, sure. Pig tongue, I think so. Pig brain, we cook it. But the rest of the head? Not sure.

From a native Cantonese.

- Ah Leung

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OliverB   

At the Ranch 99 Market here and at an other Asian super market they always have the whole roast pig hanging next to the ducks etc, the head resting on a tray underneath. And while I have yet to ask what to do with it, depending on when you get there, there's less and less meat on it. My assumption was that people buy it to eat it? Of course, this market caterers to everybody Asian and beyond, but my understanding was that this preparation in Chinese?

I'm curious about different ways to cook the head, as I'll also be getting a free one or two, once I made some room in the freezer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sheepish   

Thanks for the comments. I'm not really surprised no one puts heads on their menu, but I assume any country that eats pork must have at sometime not been able to waste part of the animal. In the UK we have a tradition of brawn, which I've made a lot of before. Thats a head simmered for hours with some spices and stock veg, then shredded and packed into a terrine and set in it's own jelly. I know that's well known in France too. Even my local supermarket sells that, although in quantities that suggest they don't sell much! And where I live the supermarkets don't cater for very adventurous eaters. Without wishing to sound in any way condescending, I always thought of the Chinese as eating every part of the animal, so was just surprised there didn't seem to be any documented traditional preparations I could find. Recipes for ears, and tails and trotters are not difficult to find on the internet. I was just surprised there was nothing for heads. And although there isn't a lot of meat, the cheeks are superb. I've had them in some very high-end European restaurants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dejah   

For my brother's 60th bday, 15 years ago, we had a whole BBQ pig, head and all. He thought he was really treating his staff by saving the head for them, but they were totally grossed out (Caucasian staff). :laugh:

We cut off and ate what little meat and crispy skin there was. The bones were used to make a huge pot of stock - for congee, for various vegetable soups (watercress, gai choi, etc).

Edited to add: Here in Canada, the Ukrainain folks use the "meat" from the pig's head to make head cheese with gelatin- much like terrine.


Edited by Dejah (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OliverB   

head cheese is sure being made in Germany also, and it's really delicious, different from every butcher. I have to find out though, if there are other recipes. They sell pig's heads at some butchers and I can't quite imagine it's for head cheese making at home.

The head also ends up in a big pig boil, just boiled head, tongue, heart, cooked in nothing but water, no salt, no anything, until well cooked and super tender. Served with bread and a spoon of salt and pepper to dip into. Doesn't get much more traditional Bavarian, usually a preparation made the day of slaughter. And yes, the snout goes in it, my dad had it on his plate, pix on my blog: Diablo Kitchen

I did taste some of the snout, though I'd cut it into smaller pieces, not quite as recognizable...

Yummy stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

There are often pigs faces hanging to dry outside one of my local restaurants. I'm not sure what they do with them though.

pigface3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CFT   

There are often pigs faces hanging to dry outside one of my local restaurants. I'm not sure what they do with them though.

Halloween mask! :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
    • By liuzhou
      I’m an idiot. It’s official.
       
      A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
       
      So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
       
      First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.

      Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
       

       
      Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
       
      The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
       

       
      These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine,  they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
       
      If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By Soul_Venom
      The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×