Google can't read my hamhock-ridden mind!
December 3, 2009 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the right crockpot-esque Chinese ham hock preparation.

I'm a huge fan of a particular Chinese ham hock preparation I see turn up a lot at Chinese New Year celebrations (I have no idea if this is related.) The ham hock is cooked, apparently very slowly, until it turns into basically a melty mass with bits meat mixed in (but it's still all in one piece). I remember them sitting inside a ceramic pot, along with a rather thick sauce that really reinforced the pork taste. Googling shows me "Chinese" recipes for roasting, for ham hock with black beans, and for braised ham hocks. I don't know if black beans are even involved in the recipes I've had, they could have been, but I don't remember seeing them. It's a recipe I've seen on several more expensive Chinese buffets, so I know it's some kind of standard. Can anyone validate which recipe I might be thinking of, and point me in the right direction? One catch, I'm looking for a recipe that is crock-pot friendly. I'm guessing that won't be much of a problem.

Bonus/Related: Can anyone tell me specifically what recipe might have been used to generate this lovely piece of work? By the way, the crock pot I'm-guessing-braised version this post is about looks just like that, except there's more sauce all over it and presumably it's softer.
posted by Phyltre to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you remember what sort of sauce went with this? Was it heavy with star anise?
posted by tksh at 8:00 AM on December 3, 2009

My guess would be red cooked pork hocks. They come out extremely savory, a little sweet, and meltingly tender.
posted by TungstenChef at 8:19 AM on December 3, 2009

Kind of almost looks like Korean jokbal (though jokbal is the actual trotters and hocks, not just hocks) before they slice it up. Oddly enough, I found a (now non-existent) link to a recipe for the sauce from a link in a comment of a blog (whew, say that three times fast) that actually linked to Korean Naver cafe all about Chinese culture. So I have no idea what the context this recipe was given in...maybe it was someone comparing Korean prep to Chinese prep or the actual recipe for Chinese prep and commenting on how similar...whatever it is, at least the English-translated sauce recipe is preserved in the blog comment above ("For the sauce, mix 1 cup soy sauce + 2 tbl corn syrup + 1 tbl ginger juice + 1 tbl minced garlic + 1 tbl oyster sauce + ground pepper..."). The use of oyster sauce makes me think it's a Korean/Chinese hybrid cooking experiment. Either way, that means I'm not the first to see some sort of kinship between the two dishes.

But if you can't track down the Chinese recipe, maybe try the Korean variant. (video! However, can't speak for this recipe's tastiness, because everyone has their own recipe and cooking method.)
posted by kkokkodalk at 10:17 AM on December 3, 2009

I'd guess it's some kind of "red-cooked" or "master sauce" dish. Those terms should help you google your way to satisfaction.

"Master sauce" is like a red-cooked sauce but it's typically reused (after skimming fat and replenishing various ingredients) and gets richer and richer with each use. Store it in the freezer between uses.
posted by Quietgal at 8:03 PM on December 3, 2009

Try the 1-2-3-4-5 technique: 1 part Chinese Shaoxing wine, 2 parts Chinese black vinegar, 3 parts sugar, 4 parts soy sauce, 5 parts water. Braise your ham hocks as slow as possible as long as possible.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 12:52 AM on December 4, 2009

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