Pork jowl: A relished cut in Vietnam
Pork jowl, a cut from the pig’s cheek, has been used to process different kinds of food in many countries. In Vietnam, this cut is used to create many delicacies.
This small area of a pig’s cheek weighs only about 300 grams after the fat is removed and has a special structure. It is both soft and chewy, fatty but not greasy. It is often sold together with the nose and ears to make minced pork.
Many people add pork jowl to boost the consistency of fish stew.
In Vietnam, there are many dishes made from pork jowl.
Stew with quail eggs
The recipe for this dish is nearly the same as normal pork stew dishes. The pork jowl must be rinsed properly before it is marinated with salt, fish sauce, chopped shallot and chilli. Quail eggs should be boiled and shelled.
After some 20 minutes, stir the pork jowl with some coconut milk, before adding eggs and cook for a few more minutes. Add some caramel liquid to give the stew a dark red colour. This dish should be served with hot steamed rice.
“Eating the sweet and salty sauce with hot rice is especially great in winter when you need more energy to warm up your body,” said Le Anh, a housewife in Hanoi.
Fried with vegetables
The tender pork jowl goes well with vegetables like bell pepper, peas, carrot, kohlrabi, broccoli, and baby corn. The delicious taste and nutrition will please any demanding diner.
The pork should be cut in thin slices and marinated with some salt and black pepper for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the carrot, kohlrabi or bell pepper into thin pieces. Slice some onion, tomatoes, garlic, shallots and red chillies.
Fry the garlic and shallots first, then add the meat and stir well. Remove from heat when well cooked.
In the same pan, add vegetables to the fat with a splash of fish sauce and sugar to taste. Stir well until cooked.
Then add the meat and stir well before adding chilli and onions.
This dish can be sprinkled with some minced black pepper and decorated with herbs.
“This dish is suitable for people who want to cut starch from meals, but maintain protein and vitamins,” Anh said. “This dish can be eaten without rice.”
Grilled pork jowl
Normal pork can be dry after grilling, but pork jowl maintains its soft, fatty texture after being marinated.
“To save time, you can use readymade spices for grilling pork,” chef Vu Manh Dung said. “You can also bake some vegetables and roots.”
Pork jowl should be rubbed with some salt, then rinsed well, and allowed to dry. Meanwhile, cut onions and carrots into 1-centimetre pieces.
Cut garlic, lemongrass and dried shallots for the marinade, along with two spoons of barbecue sauce, one spoon of oyster oil, one spoon of soya sauce, some powdered black pepper, annatto oil/powder, turmeric powder and sesame oil. Stir well and marinate for up to two hours.
“The pork jowl can then be grilled on charcoal for 20-30 minutes until it turns a little brown,” Dũng said, adding an air fryer can also be used.
“Cover the tray with some silver foil, then grill at 170 degrees Celsius for six minutes,” he said. “Then cover the meat surface with some oil, turn the meat around and grill again at 170 degrees for another six minutes. Add vegetables and grill at 190 degrees for three minutes. Then turn the meat and vegetables to grill at 190 degrees for another three minutes.”
“The pork jowl will be firm outside and soft inside with a savoury taste and a fragrance of vegetables,” he said.
The dish can be served with kimchi or fresh salad.
Viet Nam News
Asia News Network