Information: pork

Yield: 1 Servings

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PORK, the most favored and prime meat of the Chinese, is prepared with remarkable versatility. It is stir-fried, deep fried, steamed, braised, red-simmered, white-cooked, roasted or dry-fried. It can also be cooked by a combination of these methods. Cuts of pork used include butt, chops, fresh ham, leg, loin, shoulder, tenderloin and spareribs. Also favored is fresh bacon or belly pork, a cut with four or five layers of alternating lean and fat tissue, ending with a generous layer of lean meat. The Chinese call this Five-Flower Pork and simmer it for hours until succulent. Variety cuts include pork kidneys and liver; but just about every part of the animal is used, including the tail for soup. COOKING TECHNIQUES AND SUITABLE CUTS OF PORK: STIR-FRYING (sliced thin, occasionally minced): butt, chops, fresh ham, shoulder and tenderloin.

DEEP-FRYING (cubed): butt, chops, fresh ham, shoulder and tenderloin.

BRAISING (whole or in chunks, with some fat): butt, chops, fresh ham, loin and shoulder.

RED-SIMMERING (whole or in chunks): butt, chops, fresh bacon, fresh ham, leg, loin and shoulder.

WHITE-COOKING (whole or in chunks): butt, chops, fresh ham, leg, loin and shoulder.

STEAMING (cubed, slice or minced): butt, chops, fresh bacon, ham, leg shoulder and tenderloin.

ROASTING (whole, boned): butt, fresh ham, leg, loin and shoulder.

BARBECUING: eye of butt, tenderloin (in strips); chops (¾-inch thick).

NOTE: Regardless of cut, pork should be deep pink--not too red, not too pale--with very white fat. The meat should be firm to the touch. (In larger cuts, particularly, it should be resilient and spring back when poked.) The outer skin of pork shoulder, butt and fresh ham should be smooth, clear and firm.

TIPS ON SELECTING PORK: A good all-purpose cut of pork is shoulder or Boston butt, weighing about four pounds. The meat should be boned (with the bone reserved for stock), trimmed of all gristle and some of the fat, cut into several large pieces, each wrapped separately and then frozen. Some of the pieces will be suitable for stir-frying, others good for braising, porkballs, etc.

Porkballs should be minced with a small amount of fat, but never with skin or tendon: the fat holds the meat together, makes for a smooth texture. (If the meat is too lean, the porkballs will be dry.) The setting for machine-ground pork should be at medium grind.

TIPS ON COOKING PORK: Braised or red- or white-simmered pork should always be cooked in a heavy pot so that the gravy will not dry out. Salted and dried seafood, or fresh vegetables, may be added near the end of cooking.

Sugar should not be added until the meat is nearly done (the gravy will become sticky and dry and the meat may burn).

TESTING FOR DONENESS: Pork is done when its color is no longer pink ann when its meat is tender enough to be pierced easily by a fork or chopstick.

Check for doneness by cutting into meat. Cook longer whenever necessary.

From <The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook>, ISBN 0-517-65870-4. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, .

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