We're going to play word association. I'll give you the name of a dish and you answer with the first reaction that comes to mind.
These little piggys
feet made it into
Okinawan Mixed Plate
Pig's Feet Soup.
Depending on your cultural bent, you either said, "Blech! Get away from me!" or, "Where? I want some now!"
Wallace Liu wants some now, specifically "the delicious Okinawan-style" that he remembers so fondly from his culinary past.
Ashitibichi, in Okinawan, is warm, soul-satisfying, comfort food, considered health food, actually, because the gelatin that slowly cooks out of the feet and into the broth and is believed to prevent deterioration of the knee ligaments.
That gelatin, released over two or more hours of cooking, is also what gives the soup its special taste.
These two recipes come from "Okinawan Mixed Plate: Generous Servings of Culture, Customs and Cuisines," published last year by Hui O Laulima, the women's auxiliary of the United Okinawan Association of Hawaii. The first version, with daikon and ginger, is more familiar; the second includes different vegetables and a sweet soy-mirin flavor.
Both recipes include the traditional preparation of the pig's feet: Singe by holding over the flame of a gas burner, hibachi or electric stove coil until skin is burnt. Scrape off burned areas and wash. Thankfully, that step is unnecessary these days, with clean pig forelegs available frozen at supermarkets -- already cut in pieces.
"Okinawan Mixed Plate" may be ordered for $20 plus $5 postage from Hui of Laulima, 1188 Bishop St., Suite 2908, Honolulu 96813-3312. To arrange to pick up a copy and save the postage, call Bobbi Kuba, 523-5858.
The day before, cover pig's feet in water and bring to a rolling boil; drain and rinse. Return pig's feet to pot and cover with the 5 cups water. Boil for 10 minutes at high heat. Reduce heat to medium for 15 minutes, then add ginger. Cook 30 minutes more until meat is tender. Refrigerate pig's feet and stock separately overnight.
AshitibichiPig's Feet Soup
2-3 pounds foreleg of pig, pre-cut and cleaned
5 cups water
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, sliced
2 strips nishimi kubu (see note)
6 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
5 medium daikon (turnip), peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup soy sauce or miso
1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
2 tablespoons sake
1 small bunch mustard cabbage, parboiled and cut in 2-inch lengths (may substitute watercress or winter melon)
The next day, remove fat from refrigerated stock. Wash kubu; tie knots about 3 inches apart. Cut into sections. Soak shiitake in warm water with a pinch of sugar, 20 to 30 minutes. Reserve liquid; cut mushrooms into quarters, discarding stems.
Combine reserved mushroom water with enough stock to make 7 cups. Add pig's feet, kubu, mushrooms and daikon; cook 10 minutes. Add soy or miso, salt and sake; cover and simmer 1 hour, gently stirring 2 or 3 times.
Just before serving, add mustard cabbage. Grated ginger may be served as a condiment. Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Nishimi kubu is Okinawan-style konbu, or dried kelp, prepared specially for nishimi (in Japanese, nishime; in English, vegetables stewed with a small amount of meat). It is thinner than regular konbu. Some cooks soak their konbu up to an hour before cooking; in that case do not add it to the soup until the last few minutes. Nishimi kubu is available at Japanese or Asian markets. If you can't find it, substitute regular konbu.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (based on 3 pounds pig foreleg): 280 calories, 10 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,200 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 31 g protein.*
The day before, cover pig's feet in water and bring to a rolling boil; drain and rinse. Fill pot with water again, barely covering pig's feet, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 2 hours. Refrigerate pig's feet and stock separately overnight.
Ashitibichi NishimiPig's Feet with Vegetables
2-3 pounds foreleg of pig, pre-cut and cleaned
6 large dried shiitake mushrooms
4 strips nishimi kubu (see note with previous recipe)
3 carrots, peeled
2 pieces konyaku
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 heaping tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon dashi (optional)
The next day, remove fat from refrigerated stock. Soak shiitake in warm water with a pinch of sugar for 20 minutes. Reserve liquid; cut mushrooms into small triangular pieces, discarding stems.
Wash kubu; tie knots about 3 inches apart. Cut into sections. Cut carrots and konyaku diagonally into bite-sized pieces.
Combine stock in a pot with soy sauce, sugar, mirin, dashi and reserved mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil and add mushrooms, konbu, carrots, konyaku and pig's feet (add water if stock is not enough to cover all ingredients). Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (based on 3 pounds pig foreleg and without dashi): 360 calories, 10 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,500 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein.*
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.