Slippery, springy and spicy, Chinese pork rind jelly is truly a delight to enjoy. There is no commercial gelatin involved and it’s very simple to prepare.
Last week, I served something new to my culinary fans in our Red House. In appearance it was light brown with white strips running through it, had the texture of jelly and was seasoned with a savoury and spicy dressing. Everyone loved its texture and taste, but nobody could figure out what it was. It was actually Chinese pork rind jelly (肉皮冻), an aspic dish made from pork rind and its spiced stock. My culinary fan No. 2 suggested calling this scrumptious dish “Chinese pork delight” (inspired by “Turkish delight” I guess).
Pork rind jelly is a popular Chinese dish that my dad often cooked when I was young. Back then, meat sold in the market was often large chunks. My dad would keep pork rind for making this jelly dish which was loved by everyone in our family. I remember being amazed by how the stock (in which the pork rind is braised) turned into jelly on its own.
As pork rind has a large amount of natural gelatin, after being boiled in water it thickens the stock. When cooled completely, the stock congeals then a solid jelly-like block forms. The making of pork rind jelly is very natural and simple. There is no commercial gelatin involved. The only thing you need is a bit of patience as it does take a while to boil, plus several hours for waiting the stock to congeal.
Before braising, it’s essential to blanch the pork rind for a few minutes which makes slicing much easier (raw pork rind is too tough to cut). It also helps to remove any impurities. I suggest you scrape any fat remaining on the pork rind. This will make the final stock less cloudy. Similar to other Chinese meat dishes, my recipe of pork rind jelly calls for herbs and spices: spring onion, ginger, star-anise, cinnamon, bay leaf, etc.
When the stock (and the pork rind strips in it) is cooled and congealed to a jelly, you can cut it into any shape you like. Smooth, slippery and springy, the texture of pork rind jelly is truly delightful. Now what you need is a tangy, flavourful dressing to complete the dish. My favourite seasoning for pork rind jelly is very similar to the easy Chinese dressing I introduced in the post on cucumber salad (Check the recipe HERE). I also love adding a dash of homemade Chinese chilli oil (see how to make it HERE) to make this dish more exciting.
As I promised to my culinary fan No. 2, I used “Chinese pork delight” to name this dish in the post. Hope you are interested in trying out the recipe and that you find it delightful.
Have a yummy day!
Other dishes that are great for summer: