Little Cooking Saint – 0006 – Grilled Pork Intestine Skewers

Little Cooking Saint – 0006 – Grilled Pork Intestine Skewers

Chapter 6 – Grilled Pork Intestine Skewers

 

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Translated Prosperousfood.com

Re-Translated & Edited by Gumihou

 

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Shortly after the sun has risen, Shiyu’s meatbuns were all sold out. While they were packing up, quite a few people asked them if they would be back tomorrow.

Back at their residence, they began the most exciting part of doing business. Counting up their money. Though it was not actually a lot, everyone felt very happy to see the small pile of coins before them.

“What do you want to eat? Big sister will buy for you!” Shiyu declared with great enthusiasm.

“Chicken!” Xiao Wu shouted, his mouth already drooling.

Lao Er immediately tugged his shirt, he looked up at Shiyu with his little face, “Sister, just buy whatever you think is good. We don’t have a lot of money now, let’s eat that when we have more money.”

Shiyu felt very moved by this. Though Lao Er was only 12 or 13, he has enough awareness to understand their poor situation. She smiled, “I’m going to shop for ingredients now. Lao Er, you’ll be in charge of bringing everyone with you to collect wild vegetables. Xiao Qi, you come with me. Grandpa, you can stay home and maybe tidy up our cart?”

“Yes!”

With the work divided up, they all went their way. Shiyu took some money from the little pile and went to the market with Xiao Qi.

 

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After getting more pork, the butcher also gave them some free pork bones and offal out of pity. After purchasing another bag of flour and a bag of rice, there was just enough money for a whole chicken.

At the end of her shopping spree, she only had only 3 copper coins left. After rounding a corner, the money was spent on a bag of sweets for Xiao Qi.

After the shopping spree, the day had fully brightened up when they got home with their loot. The offal they had been soaking since yesterday were taken out, and water changed out. The stinky smell on the offal was not quite as strong as before. Since it was still early, Shiyu began to process the offal.

Since the offal was stinky and difficult to clean, not many people liked them. It was usually thrown away as rubbish. However, once it was properly cleaned and cooked, it could even be tastier than the best cuts of meat.

First, the fat clinging to the large intestines should be trimmed off. Next, the intestines were turned inside out and flour was massaged onto it to take out whatever dirty stuff was left.

Unfortunately, after massaging the flour in for a while, Shiyu’s hands cramped up. This body was just too young and weakened from prolonged starvation. A chef must have good strength and stamina in order to work in a professional kitchen. Looks like she’ll have to work hard to rebuild her stamina.

It was Grandpa who noticed her exhaustion, and true to his kind nature, quickly came over to help. When the unsavoury things had been massaged out, they rinsed it until the water ran clear. Finally, the cleaned offal was placed in a bucket of cold water seasoned with a bit of vinegar.

The cleaned large intestines were taken out of the vinegar water and par-boiled in a pot until they shrunk. Shiyu took the intestines out and let them cool off while she turned her attention on the small intestines and pig stomach. Without changing the water boiling water, she placed the remaining offal into the water to be par-boiled.

 

While the small intestines and stomach were being boiled, she took out a pair of scissors and cut the large intestines into pieces. By the time she was done, the small intestines and stomach were deemed properly processed and set aside. Now that the prep work on the offal was done, it was time to cook.

The reason why offal is considered a delicacy is because of the work that goes into cleaning, boiling, cutting and processing the meat to get rid of any unsavoury bits. It was almost noon but she was only halfway done. Shiyu was already so tired that her waist hurt. However, she persevered, only a little bit more…

The parboiling water was set aside to cool. Shiyu planned to use this nutrient-rich water as fertilizer for their garden. Meanwhile, it was time to heat up the wok. The trimmed off fat from the large intestines from earlier had not been wasted. They were kept aside until it was time to properly cook up the offal.

Shiyu placed the fat, along with just enough water to submerge the fat in the wok and let them boil away over a low fire. The pork fat eventually separated into lard and little cubes of crisped up lardons. Once the cubes of lardons were perfectly brown and crisped, they were scooped out and placed in a bowl.

Crispy lardons are perfect as a side dish. They could also be crushed and sprinkled over noodles or rice. A very good food seasoning that would send modern dieters screaming for their scales, but they are a great secret weapon for most food vendors to quickly level up a simple savoury dish.

Now that all the crispy lardons had been taken out, Shiyu threw in slices of onions and garlic into the remaining oil. When the ingredients became fragrant, she set the oil aside. Now her fragrant lard oil is done. She could use this to make a quick stir fry or to level up a simple soup.

“Oh, it’s so fragrant here!” The little radishes were back from the vegetable expedition and were now sniffing after Shiyu.

Shiyu gave them the crispy pork lardons, “Go and share that out.”

Xiao Qi also took out the sweets from earlier and everything was shared out.

Under the shade of the big tree, the children nibbled happily on their treats as Grandpa sorted out the vegetables. Soon, a wonderful smell began to float over. Lao Er leaned against a large tree root and closed his eyes.

Life felt very good right now.

There was rice steaming away in a pot, pork bones being stewed into soup. Is there anything better than this?

Shiyu brought out the large intestines and asked them to start a fire.

“Elder sister, what are we having for lunch today?” Xiao Wu smacked his lips as he stared at the chunks of grey, fatty meat in her basket.

“Something that you’ve never had before.” Shiyu said. “You’ll know soon.”

Lao Er collected a bundle of firewood and struck up an open flame. Shiyu had found a metal skewer and proceeded to string the large intestines onto it. First, she reduced the amount of liquid on the surface of the meat, by lightly skimming it over the open flames. Then she dipped the meat into a prepared sauce made from crushed lardon, cooked pork minced and the scum skimmed off the pork bone soup.

They could hear the meat sizzle when it was dipped into the porky sauce before it was taken out. Shiyu let the excess sauce dripped off the pork before lowering it closer to the flames. This time letting the meat crisp up to a golden brown hue. Even she was starting to gulp as she stared at the sizzling meat.

“So fragrant!” The children were all sighed, none of them could take their eyes off the skewer.

As a final touch, Shiyu sprinkled a little salt over the meat, gave it a final pass over a strong flame before pushing the meat off the skewer into a bowl with chopsticks. She handed the bowl to them, “Go on, have a taste.”

The freshly grilled meat scalded their tongues. However, nobody complained because who complains over a freshly grilled barbecue?

The moment your teeth cut through the crispy surface, a sudden burst of juiciness filled your mouth. The meat was soft and chewy, unlike any kind of food they ever had. Though chewy, it was not rubbery and the more they chew, the tastier it seemed to become. There was no hint of stink, only fragrant juiciness.

Shiyu only stopped grilling when she has a large plate of it. She was just about to bring some rice over when there was a knock at the door. Wariness overtook her, just who could that be? [1]

Not wanting the little radishes to come into contact with any weird strangers, she sent them to set the table and bring out the rice and soup while she answered the door herself. Grandpa had sidled up in the room but did not come closer.

She opened the door and was greeted by an elderly woman. In her arms was a tearful little girl. When she saw Shiyu, she smiled a little shamefully, “We live next door. I don’t know what you’ve been cooking, but our little one keeps crying about wanting to eat it. I’m here to ask so that I can make or buy it later.”

Shiyu smiled, perhaps she had been too paranoid? She said, “It’s just something I come up with. Why don’t I bring some for you?” Without waiting for the woman to answer, she went to the back garden and fetch a little bowlful of the Grilled Intestines for them, “You’re just in time to taste them. Let me know if my experiment is successful.”

The elderly woman was really embarrassed, however, when she saw the bowl contained something that she had never seen before, she accepted it graciously. “Thank you, miss. We are all neighbours here. Please, do let us know if we could be of any help in the future.”

“I’d be most grateful. I might just make a nuisance of myself in the future, so please don’t be shy about telling me off,” said Shiyu cheerfully.

After saying goodbye to the elderly woman, Shiyu paused and considered her options. Now that they live here, it would be a good idea to foster a better relationship with the neighbours. A better relationship would make their life easier.

[2] She was about to grill more meat when she saw that the table had already been laid out and rice portioned out. Her stomach growled

Never mind, let’s eat first and work later.

A quick and cheerful lunch later, Shiyu taught the little radishes how to tread the meat onto the skewer and the fine art of grilling over an open flame. Xiao Wu was the best hand at it, while Lao Er busied himself cutting bamboo stalks into sticks so that everyone could try their hand at grilling.

Though the children were a little sad to see the grilled meat portioned out into several small bowls meant for other people, they have been trained to not question Shiyu and went off obediently enough to gift bowls of grilled meat to their immediate neighbours.

Later, they saw the wisdom of Shiyu’s instructions when neighbours began visiting their house bearing small gifts. The gifts ranged from various kinds of preserved food or vegetables and fruits from their own little garden. Gestures of goodwill were all repaid by generosity. This cemented the children’s conviction of their elder sister’s wisdom.

Shiyu accepted the gifts with a smile.

A short rest later, she surveyed the empty plot in their little garden and tried to decide if it was a good place to grow vegetables.

Then, she caught sight of the live chicken sitting in its basket under the tree, and her mind went over different kinds of chicken recipes.

Xiao Wu was the one who wants chicken, who knows what the rest wants…

She was still considering her options when her heart suddenly went thump!

Shiyu suddenly had an idea where that divine thingy might be located…

 

[Gumihou: I actually added more detail re the cleaning of the offal thing. The lockdown actually gave me time to try my hand at cleaning and processing large and small intestines. Haven’t had the privilege of trying to process pig stomach yet. I did get to process a whole pig head though…lol!]

 

[1] Added more detail: To explain why the busy person in the kitchen went to answer the door instead of Grandpa or any of the other helpful little radishes.

 

[2] Change detail: They grill up more intestines before having their lunch in the original text. I thought it’s more realistic to have lunch first, 10-15 min only, and then set everyone to happily grill more meat for the neighbours.

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