Friday, March 28, 2008

Recipe of the Day: Braised Pork Hocks

As Asian stores are very rare in where I live, I tend to go overboard when I shop in one. At times I buy something that I have no idea what to use it for. For example, the bottle of sweet soy sauce labelled as 'Kecap Manis' which has been sitting in my pantry since last year's September. Perhaps I was hoping to make Singapore Chicken Rice then as they use a very thick sweet black sauce as condiment or the Malaysian Rojak where they have this same black sauce poured all over the pineapple and cucumber and sprinkled with crushed peanut. But when I bought it, I have no idea on whether it was the same thick black sauce that I was longing to taste! Moreover, the contents of its bottle was more than the salty soy sauce that I normally purchase and to use it as dipping sauce only might take me another September to finish the whole bottle! But I definitely cannot let it go to waste and so I thought of other black dishes that I ever had in my life.

Same story with the pork hocks. It just looked so fresh at the Asian grocery's meat counter and my hand automatically reached out for a pack containing 4 nicely cut pieces. Pork knuckles in vinegar was my confinement nourishment and that was the only time I ever bought a different part of the pig's anatomy besides the usual pork sirloin. So getting these hocks were something new. And yet, it stayed in my freezer frozen and hidden among the more popular chicken and minced pork for 2 weeks until today!

This was an easy recipe, as with all my others listed here as Easy Quickie. With 2 seasoning sauces, 1 spice, the usual minced shallot, garlic and ginger, I concocted the easiest braised dish!The Kecap Manis together with the dark soy sauce combined to make a rich sauce which has the right consistency of sweet and salty. And it certainly give a more glistening black and brownish color to the cooked hock which appears more appetizing.

4 pork hocks, boiled in water for 7 mins to get rid of smell
1/3 of a medium size radish, cut into thick round slices
1 red shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 thumbsizes knob of ginger, minced
5 tbsp of dark soy sauce
3 tbsp of sweet soy sauce/Kecap Manis
1/2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp water

1)Heat pot with oil and fry the garlic,shallot and ginger.
2)Add in the pork hocks and fry turning evenly and cover to cook for 10 mins.
3)Add in dark soy sauce, Kecap Manis and pepper. Coat evenly and add 2 cups of water.
4)Cover pot and simmer on medium heat for 25 mins.
5)Add in radish and continue to simmer for 20 mins or till meat is tender and starting to detach from the hock bones. Add in the cornstarch mix and let simmer for 3 more mins.
6)Dish up and garnish with cilantro.

Serves: 3 to 4 adults

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