Braised pork/ chicken/ beef in soy sauce are very traditional way to slow cook food in China. Although the specific details vary from the south to the north; families to families, the essential ingredients remain the same. Meat, soy sauce, rice cooking wine and ginger are a must for this dish.
I learnt how to cook it by watching my grandma in the kitchen, starting with passing along soy sauce, washing ginger and building wood fire. After a while, I could help with seasoning the meat and occasional stirring during simmer process. I learnt from all these tiny things and daily chores that cooking can be so amazing and magical.
The common ingredients to be braised are pork belly or other parts of pork, chicken, fish, shrimps and beef. Technically most meat can be cooked this way. I just personally prefer pork and chicken.
The chicken bones I use here are not really “bones”. It is chicken hocks, the ankle part connecting chicken feet and drumsticks. Not many Asian grocery stores sell it. Whether and when you can buy it pretty much depends on your luck that day. (￣▽￣)”
1 package of cut pork feet (about 2 to 3 pounds)
1 package of chicken bones
1 large piece of ginger root, cleaned and smashed
3 to 4 dried chili peppers，cut into pieces
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
3 to 4 star anies
1 to 2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
5 to 6 cloves
1 black cardamom，smashed
4 to 5 dried ginger
2 to 3 bay leaves
4 to 5 tablespoons rice cooking wine
salt to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
water for cooking
Clean pork feet and chicken bones and rinse well under running water.
Add dried chili peppers, star anises, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, dried ginger and bay leaves to a piece of coffee filter paper.
Tie it up to be a spice bag
Fill a large pot with cold water. Add cut pork feet. Cook over high heat until water boils. Continue cooking over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Drain well and rinse with hot water.
Heat a cast iron soup pot over high heat. Add 2 to 3 quarts of water, blanched pork feet, spice bag and rice cooking wine.
Cook until the water boils.
Cover with lid. Reduce the heat to simmer about 90 minutes.
At the same time, blanch chicken bones in boiling water for 2 minutes.
After 90 minutes, tough tissues on pork feet gradually become tender.
Add chicken bones to cook together for another 30 to 40 minutes.
Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt; cook together for another 5 minutes. Tune up the heat to medium high.
Gently stir pork feet and chicken from time to time using a wood spoon.
When most the liquid in the pot has evaporated, remove from heat and serve immediately with pot.
Anyone who hasn’t tried braised pork/chicken feet might consider it is bizarre and strange. You have to try them yourself to know how amazing they taste. After long hours’ braising, tough tissues and meat become soft and tender, but with a very special gelatin-like texture which makes to top of my favorite list.
I also stir fry some green vegetables to make it a delicious and nutritious meal.