Some people might have a negative response when reading this post’s title. Chinese have a long history of eating lard. For a long time, there was a meat shortfall in China. In the past, lard was natural and wholesome for pigs did not have any access to additives, chemicals etc. In other words, Chinese consumed a moderate amount of healthy lard generally in the past. The wisdom our ancestors carried long is worthy of following—eating good things but n moderation.
The Chinese New year is around the corner. It’s the 12th month in Chinese lunar calendar, the pig-butchered month. Rendering lard was one of the compulsory things for moms to do in China before. I grew up with eating much more vegetables than meat. When I was little, my mom sometimes scooped out one tablespoon of self-made lard from a ceramic jar into a big bowl of cooked vegetables, really aromatic. In leaner times, a bowl of fried rice with lard or a plate of stir-fried vegetables with cracklings was a comforting memory. Lard is also used for making Chinese pastries.
I have never rendered lard before. Recently I bought some pasture-raised pork and found there was some leaf fat left. I do not want to waste it. I thought it was very easy. Boil, stir and filter. The lard’s final color is not creamy white enough. A few sediments can be seen at the bottom of my glass bowl. It’s not suitable for making Chinese pastries. Anyhow, I can follow my mom’s way to add some to vegetables for meatless meals. However, to my delight, I ate my childhood snacks-lard cracklings which I did not have for long!
- 12 ounces leaf fat, diced as small as possible (See picture above)
- A cup of water
- Put leaf fat and water in the wok. Bring a boil first and simmer until you can not see any water, about 12 minutes.
- Use a spatula to keep stirring over a low heat until you see the cracklings brown and crispy, for 10 minutes.
- Use a colander with very small holes to remove the cracklings.
What I need to improve during next Chinese New Year is as follows:
- Decrease the stirring time by two minutes for this amount of leaf fat.
- Use cheesecloth to filter for the second time so there will be no any sediments.
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