Pork jowl can be used for many tasty dishes

November 08, 2022 - 08:34
Pork jowl, which is a cut of pork from a pig’s cheek, has been used to process different kinds of food in many countries across the world. In Việt Nam, people have used this small part of the pig to make various delicacies.

By Lê Hương

Pork jowl, which is a cut of pork from a pig’s cheek, has been used to process different kinds of food in many countries across the world.

In Việt Nam, this fresh cut has been used to make various delicacies.

In the small area of a pig’s cheek, the jowl meat, after removing fat, weighs only about 300 grammes, and has a special structure of loin meat mingling with some fat. That’s why pork jowl is both soft and brittle, and fatty but not greasy at the same time.

Pork jowl is a small part in pig's cheeks, and is often sold out due to its good taste. Photo suckhoedoisong.vn

Pork jowl is often sold together with pig’s nose and ears to make a kind of minced pork

Many people have used pork jowl in fish stew so that the fat in pork jowl can make fish stew fatter.

There are various dishes from pork jowl created by Vietnamese cooks.

Pork jowl stew with quail eggs

The recipe for this dish is nearly the same as normal pork stew dishes. The pork jowl should be rinsed properly before being marinated with some salt, fish sauce, sugar, chopped shallot and chilli. Quail eggs should be boiled and shelled.

After some 20 minutes, stir the pork jowl with some coconut milk to make the meat have natural sweetness. Then add the eggs in and cook for some more minutes. Add some caramel liquid in the stew to create a dark red colour for the dish.

Pork jowl stew with quail eggs is suitable for cold days. Photo bachhoaxanh.vn

The dish should be served with hot steamed rice.

Lê Anh, a housewife in Hà Nội, said the dish is suitable for winter as it should be served with hot steamed rice.

“Pouring the sweet and salty sauce on the rice, the taste will be great especially in cold days, when you need more energy to warm up your body,” she said. “You can eat more rice on such days.”

Pork jowl fried with vegetables

The tender pork jowl can match well with vegetables and roots like bell pepper, pea, carrot, kohlrabi, broccoli, and baby corn. The delicious taste and nutrition will persuade any demanding diners.

Pork jowl should be cut into thin slices and marinated with some salt, black pepper and let be for some 15 minutes.

Pork jowl stir-fried with vegetables and roots provide lots of nutrition and vitamins. Photo bachhoaxanh.vn

In the meantime, you cut carrot, kohlrabi or bell pepper into thin pieces. Prepare some onions, cut into pieces, the same with tomatoes. You chop some garlic, shallots, and slice red chilli.

You then fry garlic and shallots first, then put marinated jowl in, stir well. Take it out when it is well cooked.

You can use the same saucepan and stir vegetables and roots in fat. Add some fish sauce and sugar (according to your taste). Stir well until the ingredients are well cooked.

Then you add the cooked jowl in, and stir well before adding chilli and onions.

The dish can be sprinkled with some minced black pepper and decorated with some herbs.

“This dish is suitable for people who want to cut starch from meals while still maintain proteins and vitamins,” Anh said. “They can eat the dish in main meals without rice.”

Grilled pork jowl

Normal pork can be dried after grilling, but pork jowl will be soft and fatty when well grilled after being marinated.

“To save time, you can use ready-made spices for grilling pork,” chef Vũ Mạnh Dũng said. “You can also bake some vegetables and roots to make a small BBQ party.”

Pork jowl should be rubbed with some salt, then rinsed well, and let to dry. In the meantime, you cut onions into pieces, peel carrots and cut them into 1cm-thick pieces and chop garlic, lemongrass and dried shallots.

Then you marinate pork jowl with the spices together with onions, carrots, garlic, lemongrass and dried onions. Put two spoons of BBQ sauce, one spoon of oyster oil, one spoon of soya sauce, a spoon of honey together with some minced black pepper, annatto oil/powder, some turmeric powder and sesame oil. Stir well and leave it for one to two hours.

Grilled pork jowl is both tender and soft. Photo banhran.vn

“The pork jowl can be grilled well on charcoal for 20-30 minutes until it turns a little brown,” Dũng said.

He also suggested using an air fryer for grilling.

“You should cover the tray with some silver foil, then grill at 170 degrees

Celsius for six minutes,” he said. “Then cover the meat surface with some oil, turn the meat around and grill it a second time at 170 degrees for six minutes more. Put vegetables and roots in. After turning the meat, grill a third time at 190 degrees for three minutes. Then turn the meat, vegetables and roots to grill a fourth time at 190 degrees for another three minutes.”

The final dish of pork fowl, vegetables and roots should be light brown and well cooked.

“The pork jowl will be firm outside and soft inside with a savoury taste and a fragrance of vegetables and roots,” he said.

The dish can be served with kimchi or fresh lettuce and herbs together with BBQ sauce.

Besides the above mentioned dishes, pork jowl can be made into other delicacies like grilled pork jowl with sate, pork jowl stir-fried with lemongrass, and pork jowl soup.

“Any way of processing like grilling, stewing, or stir-frying, pork jowl should be well cooked to preserve its original taste and tenderness as one of the most delicious parts of a pig,” Dũng said. VNS