Thursday, January 3, 2013


Pig belly bacon with Chinese sauerkraut.
Originally posted here:

Also called kau yoke, kou yiuk, or various other phonetic renderings of the Chinese characters. Very popular in Hawaii and on the West Coast.


1¼ to 1¾ Lbs. ng-fa naam (五花腩 five flower pork brisket).
Three scallion, two inch lengths.
Three slices of ginger.
Three cloves garlic, smashed.
A large handful of mui choi (梅菜 plum vegetable).
One whole star-anise (baat gok 八角).
A pinch of five spice powder ((五香粉 ng-heung fun).

4-5 TBS. soy sauce.
2 TBS. sherry.
1 TBS. sugar.

Note that mui choi comes in semi-dry vacuum sealed packs as well as canned in brine. So the quantity necessary is best estimated at one quarter to one third of the meat after soaking and rinsing. Or more, depending on your own preference.
The brine version is easier for guesswork, but not necessarily recommended.
Either can be used.

Soak the mui choi for an hour or so in plenty of water, then rinse very thoroughly, drain, and squeeze out excess liquid. This removes sand, grit, and salt.
Chop it small.

Scrub the skin side of the meat with salt to clean it, then simmer it whole for ten minutes in water with the ginger and scallion to pre-cook and 'melt' some of the fat. Remove, drain, dry. Reserve a little of the liquid for the sauce.
Use an ice-pick or a sharp fork to prick holes in the skin, rub a little soy sauce over that side only, and let it sit for a while.

Heat oil in a skillet and carefully slide the meat in, skin-side down. Beware of the oil erupting - it is best to have a spatter-guard or a lid handy. Fry the meat till the skin-side is nicely darkened, almost mahogany.
Remove, drain, and let cool.

When the meat is cold enough to handle, slice it inch-thick across, each piece having all layers including the skin.
Arrange it in a broad bowl, skin-side up. Whisk the soy sauce, sherry, and sugar together and pour HALF of this over the meat, along with the star anise and pinch of five spice powder. Put the bowl in the steamer, and steam for an hour.

Now gild the garlic in a modicum of oil, add the chopped mui choi to parch. Pour in the other half of the soy sauce - sherry - sugar mixture, plus any liquid saved from the blanching at the beginning, and bring to a boil.
Pour this over the meat, making sure that most of the mui choi goes around the meat rather than on top.
Steam for another thirty minutes, or somewhat longer.

A little chopped scallion and shredded ginger to finish, and it can be served.

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