Shandong-Style Braised Pork Knuckles with Crispy Crust

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

New Beijing Cuisine

New Beijing Cuisine

By Jereme Leung

Published 2010

  • About

Pork is the most commonly used meat in Chinese cooking; no part of the pig is wasted. Whether it’s Shanghai, Shandong or Canton, every province has their own style for pork dishes. We took inspiration from the Shandong style of cooking pork knuckle, which involves braising it in a rich broth full of Chinese spices until meltingly tender. For a play on textures, we took half of the knuckle and deep-fried it until crispy, and left the remaining half as it was—tender and juicy.

Ingredients

  • Pork knuckle 1, about 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz)
  • Cooking oil 500 ml (16 fl oz / 2 cups)
  • Ginger 5 chunks, cut into 5-cm (2-in) lengths
  • Spring onions (scallions) 20 g ( oz)
  • Water 2 litres (64 fl oz / 8 cups)
  • Sugar 50 g (1⅔ oz)
  • Rock sugar 80 g (2⅔ oz)
  • Spinach leaves 300 g (11 oz)
  • Salt ½ tsp
  • Egg 1
  • Plain (all-purpose) flour 1 Tbsp
  • Potato flour 2 Tbsp, mixed with 3 Tbsp water
  • Lotus seeds 6, boiled until tender and drained

    Method

    1. Prepare 2 pieces of cheesecloth that are about 20-cm (8-in) in size. Blanch pork knuckle in hot water for 10 minutes and drain. Debone pork knuckle, then cut into 2 pieces. Wrap each piece with cheesecloth, secure with kitchen string and set aside.
    2. Heat a little oil in a wok over medium heat. Add ginger and spring onions and sauté until fragrant. Add seasoning ingredients, water, sugar and rock sugar and bring to boil for about 15 minutes. Add both pieces of pork knuckle, reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 2 hours or until pork knuckle is tender. Remove both pieces from wok and discard cheesecloth. Set aside and reserve braising liquid.
    3. Heat a little oil in a wok. Sauté spinach and season with salt. Transfer to a serving plate and set aside.
    4. Combine egg and plain flour. Mix well, then apply mixture evenly onto one half of pork knuckle. Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat and deep-fry pork knuckle until crispy. Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Place on top of spinach.
    5. Reheat remaining half of pork knuckle and place onto prepared spinach. Reheat braising liquid and thicken mixture with potato flour solution to make a sauce. Pour sauce over pork knuckles and arrange lotus seeds over them. Serve immediately.