The fat distribution of the jowl is not what I have expected. I made Berkshire jowl several time in the past but my recipes didn’t work at all for the Mangalitsa. I marinated about 1.5 lb of the jowl in watered downed Chinese rose wine (玫瑰露酒, Mei Kuei Lu Chiew, a clear sorghum liquor distilled with rock sugar and rose paddles, about 46% alcohol), soy sauce, red curry pastes, kaffir lime leaves and young ginger over night. I then roasted it until the skin is golden brown.
I wrapped it in foil and put it back in the freezer. Take it out the next day and slice it to 3 mm with a Japanese ceramic medallion slicer. After a quick tasting I put a little bit of salt on top and lay them out on a rack and leave them in the fridge.
After about a week I served them on a piece of toast and use a torch to create a little bit of char and turn the fat transparent. The melted fat gets soaked up by the toast. Topped with a little bit of fleur de sel. Now we are talking. It smells divine and taste even better.
The other 1 lb piece I slice it 1/4 inch thick, skin on, marinated in teriyaki and soy sauce and a little bit of the Chinese rose wine over night. Then I put them on a rack and air dry it. With Berkshire jowl this would seal the juice in. With the mangalitsa something interesting happened. The Italian got it right. The fat develops a firm, almost rubbery texture and a tangy bite so intriguing that you must try it for yourself. After air drying I put them in the boiler sandwiched between two BBQ net to prevent the jowl fat from curl up. The top net weight it down and make flipping easier. The smell is divine. Alinea had a grill kobe beef dish where they’d bring out hot liquid to pour over dry ice on your table to “bring the smoke out to the table”. This would have been a perfect application to bring that divine smell to the table.
August 16th, 2009
The second preperation of the mangalitsa belly is going to be a confit. Confit by definition is a cut of meat cured then slow cooked in it’s own fat. It is then stored in the fat as a method of preserving the meat.
It’s a very simple preperation. The difficult part is getting enough of the animal fat to cover what you want to cook. Since your meat are going to be soaking in the fat for a good few hours, the quality of the fat is very important. Michael from mosefund farm offered me some leaf lard for rendering. As good as it sound, the thought of leaving my oven on 350F overnight or having my tiny tiny apartment smell like bacon for the next three days doesn’t sound too appealing. Luckily, I found the next best thing from Union Square farmers market: rendered leaf lard from flying pig farm.
I cut the belly in 3 inch x 3 inch cube, pad dry with kitchen towel and covered liberally with the following dry rub and leave it for 48 hours in the refrigerator
1/2 lb of five spice powder
1/2 lb of salt
A few clove of garlic, slice paper thin
After 2 days in the refrigerator I washed the rub off, pad dry with kitchen towel and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180F. I heat the lard on the stove in a thick saucepan or a casserole to 180 F. Place the belly piece in skin down, covered and place in oven for 7 hours. After 7 hours put the casserole in an ice bath then into the fridge. The ice bath is purely to help cooling the content down to 70F within 2 hours to comply with NYC health code. The belly piece needs to sit in the fat for at least one day. it will keep in the fat in the fridge for a few months. When ready to eat, fish one out and melt the fat to fetch the piece.
when ready to serve, heat a some lard in a pan to 350 F. Fry the belly piece skin down until the skin is golden and crispy. slice into 1/4 slices. I serve it with some rice flour buns, cilantro, leeks, hoisan sauce and chopped and fried peanuts.
July 26th, 2009
About two months ago after hearing Ajit twit about his Mangalitsa dinner at Monsoon, I was determined to find me some this stuff. Mangalitsa is a breed of pig bred for it’s fat traditionally for lard production rather than for it’s meat. Immediately I thought of the pork belly.
Pork Belly (五花腩) has always been a staple in Chinese cuisine. So important that the Chinese government setup a Strategic Pork Reserve to mitigate chances of a national riot due to pork shortage. The name literally means five flower belly, where the word “flower (花)” is often used to describe the pattern on a piece of marble. Five refers to the distinct layer of meat and fat on a belly cut.
Wooly pig is the primary breeder in the US. I contacted Heath to see if they have any retail outlets in New York. He got me in touch with Michael Clampffer from Mosefund farm, who agree to let me participate in the upcoming pig share. The farm had a few pig that’s due in mid July. You speak for the part that you want when the pig is still young, and when the pig grows up you share it with other people. I spoke for half a belly and the jowl. This is pork belly future in its true form.
My cut arrived in mid July. I decided to braised the half of my belly cut in soy sauce and do a confit for the other half. Pork Belly braised in sweet soy sauce is one of the most common way Chinese enjoyed pork belly. It’s long and slow cooking time breaks down some of the fat and makes the meat off the bone tender. I cut the pork belly in 3 inch by 3 inch cube and marinated them overnight in the following sauce. This will give it a nice brown color
- 4 table spoon dark soy sauce
- 4 table spoon water
- 2 table spoon grated ginger
- 1 table spoon raw sugar
I taste tested two different type of soy sauce and decided to used both. Soy sauce is brewed from fermented soy beans using bacteria and aged in wooden barrels. The Chinese one on the right has a deeper and more earthy taste, less salty but with a slight aftertaste possibly from preservatives. The Japanese one to the left has a floral note, tasted much brighter but with a higher salt content. Because salt content varies a great deal, alway try before you use it for braising.
Preheat oven to 175F. Toast the star anise and sichuan peppercorn in a casted iron cassarole. Add the rest of ingredients to the cassarole. Add the prok belly pieces in. Add water until the bellies are covered all the way by the braising liquid. Take out the belly pieces and brin the liquid to a boil. let the braising liquid cool to 180F. Place the belly in the cassarole with skin facing down. Weight down with pie weight if you have them. Place in oven for 24 hours. Check periodically to make sure braising liquid is between 160 to 170F. Make sure the liquid never falls below 140 at any time.
After 24 hours you should see a layer of fat floating on top. Save them for stir fry or as topping for steamed rice or noodle with dried shrimp eggs. Remove the belly carefully from the pot. By now they should have shrunk quite a bit. Leave the belly to cool in the fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, I sliced them in half inch slices and put them in microwave for 10 seconds. If you have reserve about the microwave, you can use a heat lamp as well. But since it contains little water, this is the best way to warm it up without disturbing much of it’s texture. At this point you should see the fat just starting to ooze out of the warm belly slice, giving it a nice shiny glaze. I served it with a bowl of steamed rice and Chinese mustard green. I slowly took a bite into the piece. At first the soft and gelatinous skin give a tiny bit of resistance, before letting my teeth penetrate throught to the warm soft flesh. The fat is silky smooth, with a much finer and delicate texture than any belly fat I have had. Just when I was savoring it the piece melts in my mouth into this intense liquid that’s every bit as good as seared foie gras but without any of the organ after taste. It was havenly. When I finished the belly pieces the rice is coated with the same flavor that reminds me of the two tiny pieces of heaven I just had.
July 21st, 2009
My friend Ronnie in Hong Kong was complaining to me the other day that he always burn his creme anglaise (ice-cream base) on the stove. I was puzzled cuz I would always leave mine on low heat unattended for minutes at a time. Then I looked this up: This is the lowest end of some of the gas ranges you can get in Hong Kong. It cost about $150 USD but is capable of providing almost 18000 BTU, the equivalent of what a Viking can produce. So unfair.
See my other post about electric range here
July 5th, 2009
We’ve just upgraded our swine flu response team at work from Silver to Gold. Wait, Gold and Silver? Can’t they come up with normal names like Red and Amber?
April 30th, 2009
Went to a bar with 150 burbon called char #4. The barman recommended 4 of them and when I describe one of them as fishy and salty like a Islay malt, he’s totally confused. Then I realized the term “fishy” that I have been usign to describe whiskey I was actually referring to a Chinese food item “preserved salted fish” that few people in the state knows about.
April 26th, 2009
I like macaroons, but they have such a short shelf life that I can only get one or two at a time. Put some macaroon and a wet sponge in my wine fridge last week. They are still good ;D I think they will prbably last a few more days too.
April 19th, 2009
Finally got a reservation to ko. Will have to see what all the fuss is about
April 19th, 2009
After living in NY for so many years, finally, my first attempt to get a proper pizza. I remember when I was in Seattle we used to drive 30 minutes to Columbia City just for a true Napoli style pizza. It was well worth the drive. The pillowy, chewy and nutty crust, topped with simple ripe tomato sauce, a few slices of mozzarilla and a few leaf of bazil. The unfortunate part about pizza in NY is every corner there is a pizza place, and all they sell are thos plasticky slices that they reheat just before serving to you with oil driping from it. Inexpensive, filling, at least that’s the reputation. So many people frawn when they hear me say I want pizza and a nice super Tuscany for dinner.
Anyway, this place I went to is called Luzzo. I got a take out cuz I needed to rush to dance class, so naturally, I eat it in the subway. I finished the whole pie in about 7 minutes and believe me I would finish it quicker if I could. I was suprised at how quickly the flavor degraded as the pizza gets cold. But it was almost everything I was looking for.
$18 for a 12 inch pie. Expensive, but for a proper pizza, I am satisfied, until I found a better place…
April 2nd, 2009
Left a long winded voice mail with Vivian’s cleaning lady in my horrible mandarin. Turns out she speaks English and Spanish
March 31st, 2009