I was browsing the meat shelves in Morrisons a couple of weeks ago and saw packs of pig cheeks – so of course, I had to buy some, and at £2.75 for 500g it seemed churlish not to. The first time I cooked them I used Essex Eating’s recipe, and they were delicious, but the texture of the meat – soft and yielding with that delicious gelatinous quality, made me think of chinese pork belly and all those other bits they cook. So why not make chinese style pig cheeks?
I looked to the master, Ken Hom, for inspiration, and amended his recipe for braised pork belly, marinating the meat first and not using as much hoi sin. The result, served with egg fried rice and oyster sauce stir-fried vegetables, was delicious.
500g pigs cheeks
3 tblsp. Chinese rice wine
Clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp. five spice powder
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
4 dried chinese mushrooms, along with the soaking water
5 slices ginger
1 tblsp. whole yellow bean paste
3 tblsp. chinese rice wine
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
2 tsp. hoi sin sauce
Combine marinade ingredients and marinade pig’s cheeks for up to 3 hours.
Remove cheeks from marinade and reserve liquid. Dry cheeks, dust with cornflour and brown in vegetable oil. Set aside.
Combine all braising ingredients and left over marinade in a wok or shallow pan. Bring to boil, add pig’s cheeks then lower to simmer, covered. Cook for 2 hours, but for last 30 minutes remove cover to allow sauce to thicken.
Before serving, slice each cheek into three and return to sauce – makes eating easier with chopsticks!!