Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spicy Pork Intestine Stir-Fry with Pickled Mustard...

Kowabung-a! Innards, intestines, bung, chitterlings, chitlins... all words that describe this you-love-it or you-hate-it exotic delicacy. I am in the l.o.v.e it camp-- so much that I decided to try cooking it at home. Typically, I love intestines Chinese-style, sliced and flash-fried until crispy on the outside and chewy on the interior-- often enjoyed with a bowl of plain congee (jook), especially for late night eats (siu yeh), but lately I`ve really appreciated them stir-fried with chillies and loads of garlic. And that was my goal tonight. At Asian markets you'll find this part of the large intestines labelled as bung. Its unusual taste can be described as meaty, porky but definitely offal-ly! To me, bung`s texture is the main attraction-- tender with lots of fatty tissue inside, and some chewy resistance owing to the mass of tissues unique to that region. But first things first, to get to the finished dish, I must get crackin`on the cleaning! And that is a feat in itself... Pheeeew, with the plastic off the intestinal package, its aroma instantly hits you full-on of foul digestive matter. With the help of a thorough flour and vinegar bath, those putrid tubes were no longer singing the blues. And my stir-fry dish with chillies and pickled mustard greens turned out delishush! I suppose, it`s right to say here No Guts No Glory :) !

Enjoying a Chinese lunch of hot and sour soup, green onion pancakes and stir-fried intestine with onions and chillies a week ago that inspired my foray into bung debunking... 

Lunch with my sister at Chinese Dumpling House

Spicy Pork Intestine Stir-Fry with Mustard Greens
Makes 6-8 Servings

1/2 lb. pork large intestine (different from the small which looks like a string of macaroni bunched together)
4 to 5 ginger slices
1/2 to 1 onion, chopped
2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
2 sweet pepper chillies or 1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 fingerling green chillies, chopped
1/2 package (250 g) pickled sour mustard, rinsed and chopped

all-purpose flour (for cleaning)
white vinegar (for cleaning)
1-1/2 Tbsp. cooking oil, divided
1 Tbsp. soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. dark mushroom soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp. sugar
sesame oil

Prepare all your ingredients and set aside before cleaning the intestines.

Start by filling a basin full of cold water and submerging the intestines to first rid of its initial funky aroma and residues. Cleaning is not for the faint of nose... be prepared for stink! And look for areas of the tubes that may contain nasty bits. I had to cut off an assuming grey-looking chunk to discard. 

Pour out the water and add some all-purpose flour-- about 1/2 cup and work and rub it into the intestines. Rinse with cold water, open the tubes and let the water run through. Then, pour vinegar into the tubes and let it drain out the other end. Pour vinegar into the basin and smoosh the intestines around. Let it sit for ten minutes to an hour if you can to really clean and remove the stench. Wash and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Meanwhile, boil water in a pot with a little salt and add ginger slices. Add intestines and boil for ten minutes until cooked through-- they will firm into solid cylinders and a chopstick will easily pierce through.

Carefully slice hot cooked intestines on a 1/2-inch angle.

Heat 1/2 Tbsp. oil in skillet/wok on medium-high and add onions; stir-fry until aromatic and translucent, then add the sliced intestines and 1/2 garlic. Cook for two minutes, and add soy sauces. Cook another minute and transfer onto plate and set aside.

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, remaining garlic, chillies and peppers. Stir-fry for two minutes, then return intestines to the skillet/wok. Toss ingredients together, add sugar, drizzle the cooking wine and let simmer for another minute or two. Finish with a touch of sesame oil.

Voila-- savoury, pickle-ly and spicy-- the combination of flavours, and crunchy & chewy textures was insanely delish!

Served with steamed rice, Cilantro Chicken Wings, Chinese greens with oyster sauce, Steamed Fish with Ginger and Onions and a side of kimchi. What a complete and delicious meal!

For the leftover 1/2 package of sour pickled mustard, try using it in my Pork Rib Soup with Pickled Mustard Greens.

Cleaning was a bit tedious and took some time but it's not mission impossible. I challenge you, the next time you're at a restaurant enjoying some delicious but less common cut of meat, offal or ingredient, do a bit of recipe research and learn how the dish is put together-- it'll either make you appreciate the efforts of the dish more, or if you are adventurous in the kitchen like me, could it nudge you to give something new to add to your cooking repertoire.... remember-- no guts no glory (pun intended-- lol)!

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