Sunday, 20 February 2011

in praise of pork lard

Now I'd like to think my blog is pretty vegetarian-and-vegan-friendly, but sometimes, just sometimes, a meat-loving girl has got to pig out.

Literally.

In my last post I mentioned my parents have gone back to Malaysia after a lovely visit. In this post I will show you one of the wonderful things my mum prepared for me before she left.

Pork lard, glorious pork lard.

crispy pork lard - 猪油渣 (zhu you zha, chu yao cha)

My mum had bought some excessively fatty pork belly from the market, so she simmered the pieces of pork fat to render out the lard. This was skimmed out of the pot and then kept in the fridge where it soon solidified, and I've been using it instead of oil in stir-fries, even adding it to soups for some extra pizzazz. Delicious.

rendered pork lard, great for adding flavour to stir-fries and even soups, or for making pies and such.

After the rendering of the lard, of course, the pieces of pork fat were stir-fried vigorously over high heat until golden and crispy. I love these sprinkled liberally in noodle dishes. I'm also tremendously guilty of crunching on them just as a snack. Hey, it's not an everyday treat, and I don't get it in great quantities. Besides, as mum says, most of the fat had been rendered out already, so while it's probably not going to be the next craze in the health food industry, it isn't quite as unhealthy as you may think. So there.

But really, I shouldn't have to justify enjoying these delightful morsels. Look, here they are again, calling out to me...

another gratituous shot of the crispy pork lard crackling.

22 comments:

  1. Not a huge fan of lard because most non-organic pork has some gaminess to it. But if organic pork is in use, fuiyoh!

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  2. I know my parents got the pork belly at the market, but I'm not sure if it's organic or not. I've never found the pork lard my mum makes to be gamey though - I think it helps that she tends to use female pork. I'm not opposed to a bit of game, depending on what I'm having, but I agree that gamey pork isn't really that enticing - wild boar is another story again, though, I like it!

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  3. Truth be told, even my blog seems more "veggie-friendly" too, it never shows I eat crispy pork lard. Back in Singapore, they add that to fish ball noodles - so good! I eat those when served.

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  4. My, oh, my, that looks tempting. I do love my vegetables, and I always trim the fat from my beef, and the skin from my chicken, but you're right, every once in a while . . . .

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  5. In general I don't like the way animal fat tastes, but lard can make things taste fantastic, and pork cracklings too. In Italy we make focaccia topped with them: so good... Yours look really tempting, and I have no clue on how to make them at home.

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  6. That looks so, so much better than the packet of "pork rind" I once bought from a vending machine and ate as a dare in year 12. *shudders at memory*

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  7. tigerfish, definitely, love it in char koay teow as well. :D

    Rosemary, I agree - it's a delicate balance, being an omnivore!

    Thanks lacaffettierarosa! I wish I could've had more detailed descriptions and instructions on how to make this, but what I wrote above is all I remember from what my mum told me. Next time I buy a hunk of fatty pork I'll try to re-create it myself and post the results. Hopefully I won't mess up - I should've made it a priority to watch and learn when my mum was pottering around the kitchen!

    Hannah I think I know the pork rind thing you're talking about... this is definitely much, much better. :D

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  8. Glorious pork lard. This was used in lots of dishes when I was young and disappeared for health reason and seem it's back in trend.

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  9. I can't say I'm a huge fan of pork, but I'm intrigued by this recipe!

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  10. Oh my goodness, this looks so naughty... loving it :D

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  11. Ellie, I don't think it's ever gone out of trend in the town where I grew up, luckily, and I hope it never does! Many of my favourite Malaysian dishes just wouldn't have that final touch of authenticity without a scattering of crispy pork lard...

    Maria, I guess it's worth trying once if you ever come across it! I do acknowledge that not everyone is a fan of fat. ;)

    foodie and the chef - indeed, it's naughty AND nice. :D

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  12. The ultimate endorsement of the adage; fat is flavour. Oh, so tempting....

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  13. Thanks for dropping by tori! Fat really is flavour. :D

    Agnes, glad you appreciate it! ;)

    Thanks Penny, my mum rocks! :D

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  14. this is decadent! makes me think of fat noodles fook kein meen! i miss home! :) now that you just showed make pork lard, should i attempt it or not... what a dilemma :P

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  15. Those crackling morsels looks SO delicious! I would throw caution out the window and eat them in a second.

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  16. You know, pork lard is really healthier than fake weird vegetable shortenings! And of course it tastes better too : )

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  17. Mmm pork scratchings! I did these with duck not long ago, and with goose at Christmas. So delicious!

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  18. Oh Min, I love those noodles too!

    Jenna, I always throw caution out the window when my mum makes these, heheh.

    Trix, I agree. I'd pick these over some overly processed junk anyday.

    Foodycat! I've got to try the fabulous-sounding duck and goose version of this.

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  19. Thanks for sharing this post.In my hometown every family makes their own lard from the fat back around the Chinese New Year time. They make enough so it'll last for the whole year and it's normally store in a huge glass jar.

    And likewise, the golden crispy scrap fat is normally used as an ingredient to add more flavor to the soup or vegetables. However given I live in the States now all of this is only part of my memory.

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  20. Thanks Yi! My mum usually makes these when she buys pork to feed the family, so each time only yields enough for a few days, if that! Otherwise, my experience with pork fat is really similar to yours. :)

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