Kourou is a dish that consist of thrice cooked pork belly that has been boiled, fried, and steamed.
There are many versions of kourou, and famous two is the MeiCai Kourou 梅菜扣肉 and Yutou Kourou 芋头扣肉.
Now, it seems that everyone seems to associate kourou with Hakka cuisine. Not really.
According to Chinese Wikipedia or you can just do a google search about kourou on Mainland China's websites, you will find that
Hakka Preserved Vegetable Kourou
Guangxi Taro Kourou
Cantonese Arrowroot Kourou
So you see, kourou is a dish that is cooked by the other dialects and other provinces as well.
|China Taro or China Yam|
Guangxi in China is famous for it's Taro produce. I have only read about it from the internet when I visit China's recipe sites.
Last year, few weeks before CNY, I was walking in Tesco, when I happened to see these round bottomed taro....my heart was leaping with joy! It looks exactly like those I saw on the internet! And the best part is, they were sold at half the price of local and Thai ones.
I was already planning to cook Kourou and bring it home during the first day of CNY. It's like an answered prayer to get the right taro to cook a traditional Guangxi dish for my mom. I don't know if these are the famous Guangxi Taro 荔浦芋头, but they sure do look like it.
FYI, these taro or China Yam (as labeled in Tesco) are really floury and soft when cooked. Delicious!
|My beautifully blistered pork belly :)|
Taro Kourou is 'the' dish for any Guangxi celebration. Be it weddings, birthdays, Chinese New Year or any family celebrations.. its the dish that must always be served.
It's a family dish and each family will have their own slight variation. I refered to this Guangxi Portal for an idea, plus verbal tips from my mother (based on what she remembered) and cooked this dish.
I used a few days to slowly prepare each component. It's a tedious dish. Seriously it is.
My grandpa will prepare many many bowls of this, and steam it in one go. Keep it chilled in the fridge and consume over the few days of CNY. My maternal relatives never gets bored of it. I guess it's due to their Guangxi blood in them.
I can't eat this every day.... too rich.
Because it's a rich dish, my maternal family loves to serve it with a side of lettuce. We will put in some Guangxi steamed chicken, some kourou and taro and wrap it up before eating.
My brother claims my 2nd Aunt makes the best kourou ever. But my mom said, her version is adulterated, LOL. It's unlike what her dad used to make. My 2nd Aunt is a pure Hakka, and her method of seasoning is heavier than my grandpa's.
Like I said, it's a family dish, and every family will have their own variation. But the basic concept remains, pork belly, taro, fermented beancurd... every thing else is variable.
Oh yes, if you don't want to make your own blistered pork belly, just get roast pork belly :)
We all have our lazy days,
Guangxi Taro Kourou 广西芋头扣肉Reference : Gxnews
makes 2 large bowls (each bowl serves 10 pax)
2kg pork belly, divided into manageable large chunks
1 star anise
1 sprig spring onion
1cm ginger, smashed
1 tsp salt
2 L water
1. Put everything into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer 40 minutes (I think 1 hour is better)
2. Carefully fish out the pork belly slab and put it on a wire rack to air.
3. Prick the skin with fork, as much as you can, all over the skin.
*Strain and keep half the broth.
1 tsp maltose
1 Tbsp hot water
1.Brush the pricked pork skin with maltose solution.
2.Sun dry 3 hours.
3. Wipe away excess liquid on skin from time to time.
*At this time, scrub your taro's skin clean. Let it air dry
1.1kg Taro, (peeled weight)
1. Peel the air dried taro and plan how to cut it to match your pork belly. Cut it slightly thinner than your planned size for the belly.
2 Heat around 1 L of oil. Fry taro slices until a crust forms and the taro slices float. Drain.
3. Heat the oil until very hot, then slide the sunned belly slab, skin side down, into the hot oil. Fry for around 10 seconds. The skin will blister.
4. Turn the belly over and let it fry for a while. As you fry the meat side, bathe the skin with hot oil.
5. Turn the belly over again and make sure the skin is all nicely blistered and golden. Lift up and drain. Belly frying process is less than 2 minutes each.
6. Let the belly cool down, and the skin soften before use.
*I kept everything in the fridge at this point, and proceeded to the next step after 2 days.
|Preparing the belly|
90gm red fermented beancurd (together with some red liquid)
45gm white fermented beancurd (just the curd)
45gm shaoxing wine
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp finely minced spring onion (white part)
1 tsp dark caramel sauce
1 tsp five spice powder
1. Mix the seasoning ingredients for gravy. Add in 1/4 cup of the reserved pork broth.
2. Slice your pork belly to a suitable size for your bowls. (My pork slices were around 3 inches wide, 1cm thick)
2. Dip the sliced pork into the seasoning and place it skin side down onto a 'noodle' bowl. Place a piece of fried taro next to it. Repeat this step until the bowl is full. End the line with a slice of pork.
3. Pour in reserved pork broth until bowl is slightly more than half full. Top with excess pork or taro, if there is.
4. Steam on high heat for 1.5 hours. Or pressure steam for 20 minutes.
* If not served immediately, keep the kourou wrapped in plastic wrap, and keep chilled for a few days. Any longer, please freeze it.
Dark Caramel sauce as preferred
Extra soy sauce and sugar as preferred
1. Let the Kourou cool down slightly, then pour out the gravy. Invert the pork onto a dish, not plate.
2. Taste the gravy and do adjustments, for colour and taste, if needed. If there isn't much gravy, top with some of the pork broth.
3. Cook gravy until it boils and thicken gravy with cornstarch mixture until preferred consistency.
4. Pour the gravy onto the Kourou. Ready to serve.