Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pork Feet & Bitter Melon Soup (serves 4-6)

There is a reason bitter melon is called "bitter" because it is!  Not everyone enjoys the taste but I like eating them.  Sometimes these melons are stuffed with ground pork and then cooked in a soup.  When I eat these stuffed melon soup I tend to eat the melon and not the meat.  I decided to make an alternative soup without the usual stuffing.   I used pork feet for my soup base. The weather outside dropped to single digits (8 degrees F) and making this soup keeps my kitchen warm and toasty!


  
Ingredients:

2 lbs pork feet, cut into 1-inch slices (have your butcher do this)
10 C cold water
2 bitter melons (about 2 lbs), halved, innards removed, cut into bite size
1/2-1 onion. peeled, washed (keep whole)
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 C roughly chopped cilantro (more for garnish later)
2 scallions, chopped (more for garnish later)

Method:

1) In a large pot add the pork feet slices and enough water to cover the feet.
2) Over medium high heat let water boils for about 15-20 minutes until there is a lot of impurities that float to the top.
3) Remove the pot from heat.  Don't turn off the stove top.  Use a knife and scrape the pork skin to clean and wash each slice in cold water until it is completely clean.  Wash your pot well.
4) Add the cleaned pork slices back into the pot and add 10 cups of cold water and onion.  Cover the pot.
5) Once the water boils, turn heat down to low and let the water boils gently.  Add the bitter melons, salt and fish sauce.
6) Let everything cook for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the pork and melons are soft to your liking.
7) Add cilantro and scallions.  Turn off heat and let everything cooks further in the pot.  Discard the onion after cooking.
8) Add extra fresh cilantro and scallions garnish on top of the bowl before eating.  This will help brighten your dish!

bitter melons on vine
*You can certainly add more salt or fish sauce according to your taste.  As I have mentioned in past postings I don't particularly enjoy salty food.  Also, some people are very sensitive to salt intake and eating even a small amount can affect their health adversely.  
*This is not related to food but if you are in healthcare and would like to learn how to suture for work, pork leg is a great way to practice.  If you learn how to place sutures in pork skin then you will be a pro on humans since the pork skin is much tougher!!

Below are a few photos of the recent snow in Boston where the temperature dropped to single digits. The single digit temperature is tolerable but the wind chill made it feel much colder.  It reminded me of my past life living in Maine and Minnesota! 
Boston Public Garden (2014)

George Washington monument (2014)

one of the many historic trees in the park,
even the trees looked cold
--if this is possible!
(Boston, 2014)

one of the streets in
Bay Village (2014)

snowy and windy in Bay Village (2014)

a hint of warmth from the historic gas lamps
on a Bay Village street this snowy day

boredom
(making paper snowflakes while the soup is cooking
--to decorate my bland office door at work)

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