I went to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco the other day to see the Emperors’ Treasures exhibition. One of the treasures was called “Meat Shaped Stone.” The director of the museum Jay Xu is from Shanghai as I am and we chatted about how growing up we all loved the braised pork belly that looked exactly like the stone on display. I felt inspired to make a Shanghainese braised pork knuckle after I left the museum.
When Angela and I started this blog nearly two years ago, we had set out to make very healthy food with lots of vegetables and very low fat. Angela has been a vegetarian since she was five or six years old and Audrey became a vegetarian after watching the film Food Inc two summers ago. Angela, the food police of our family, lost interest in our joint venture a few months after we began as she started writing for her own blogs about topics that interested her more. Without Angela’s scrutiny, I slowly began to use more oil when I stir fried, full fat yogurt instead of fat free yogurt in my desserts and real wheat flour instead of almond flour or coconut flour when I baked.
Now that Angela has left for college and Audrey is taking a break from her vegetarianism, we have pork back in our lives again. I used to eat pork knuckle a couple of times a month in my twenties and thirties, but I hardly cooked any pork since Angela became a vegetarian.
A Beatles Song Norwegian Wood came to my mind as I cooked this pork knuckle. Yes, this bird has flown. Angela is no longer here to say, oh that smell is disgusting mommy.
How I miss her!
Soy Braised Pork Knuckle
2 cups Shao Xing Wine
4 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sauce
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
1 clove anise
1 1/2 inch ginger, sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon rock sugar or brown sugar
1 stick cinnamon
3 dried red chili pepper
1 pork knuckle
Heat the oil in a medium pot on medium high. When the oil is hot, add ginger, garlic, anise, peppercorn, dried chili and cinnamon stick. Stir until aromatic.
Add the pork knuckle and brown it on all sides.
Turn stove to low and add soy sauce. Turn the pork knuckle a few times in the soy sauce mixture.
Add Shao Xing Wine and water. Turn stove to high and bring the pot to boil. Turn the stove to low and let simmer for 2 hours.
Turn the stove to high and reduce the liquid to half. Serve on a bed of blanched or stir fried vegetables.
Note: The Shao Xing wine that one buys in the US is salty for tariff reasons. If your Shao Xing wine is not salty you can add more soy sauce.