How to make Chinese food Guizhou Cuishao? Today, we wanted to teach you how to make a classic from the Guizhou province–Cuishao, crunchy cracklins. Now like American-style cracklins, these are generally made from either pork belly or pork fat, but unlike the American sort are fried until they basically reach their breaking point and as crunchy as a crouton.
How To Make Chinese Food Guizhou Cuishao?
They’re used as a topping and as an ingredient and can be found everywhere from Guizhou’s fermented bean hotpot to a simple breakfast blood intestine noodle soup.
Now, if you were living in Guizhou, this would be the type of thing that you’d just kinda go out and buy at the market.
And if you’re living in China, they are easy enough to buy online.
But because I do doubt that you’ll ever be able to find these guys on Amazon, we’ll just have to show you how to make them in your own kitchen real quick.
So right. We’re using about a kilo of pork belly here, but if that’s feeling a bit rich for your blood, feel free to swap for fatback or combination thereof. Slice your pork into thick 2 centimeter slices, then cut each slice into thirds – something like this is perfect.
I personally like to toss my pork in the freezer for a couple of hours before slicing to help maintain the integrity of the belly, but if any of your pieces are still a touch froze that’s totally fine because we’ll be starting our Cracklin frying by boiling them.
So just add your sliced pork belly to your cooking vessel of choice, toss in a pint’s worth of cool water, and bring that up to a boil.
Then once it’s at a rapid boil, swap your flame down to medium/medium-high and let it all bubble away.
The idea here is that by boiling we’ll be rendering out some of the lard at first, which’ll give our cracklins a bit of a head start before frying so that they don’t brown too much too fast.
Then once your water’s almost completely dissolved, optionally go in with a few tablespoons of oil, preferably lard.
This is my own personal approach to help ensure that there’s enough oil for everything to fry evenly at first, but it’s optional because these’re totally gunna render out like a mountain of lard here anyway.
The only time you really need to watch these like a hawk is at this point when the water’s boiled away but the cracklins haven’t rendered enough oil to properly deep fry in yet.
So move your pork around but be careful – you definitely don’t want the layers of the belly to break on you. so handle the pork almost as gently as you would tofu.
Then once it’s rendered enough lard to deep fry in you can start to breathe easy, just make sure the flame’s on low and you come back every once in a while to make sure things aren’t sticking.
Now, at the cuishao shops in Guizhou, you definitely won’t find them going for this whole boiling-then-frying method.
Instead, they’ll just deep fry the pork in lard over a low flame for a lengthy period of time.
Works perfect of course, but for me at least, I just. can’t justify calling for deepfrying in lard at home.always feels like a bit of a waste.
That said, our previous tries at making Cuishao at home always ended up coming up a bit short, until we stumbled on one video from Bilibili user Miguo2017 that not only boiled-then-fried once, like I’m used to with lard making, but repeated that process again.
We reached out to a couple of friends in Guiyang that confirmed that it was a common enough home cooking approach, and it does work brilliantly. ]and it worked brilliantly.
So once your cracklins are looking lightly golden brown, or about twenty minutes later, dip out most of the rendered lard, and go in with another pint of water.
Boil it down just as before – this’ll help us render out some more oil while also slightly softening the lean.
Then toss your previously scooped out lard right back in, and continue to render away over a low flame.
About forty-five minutes later now, your cracklins should’ve released pretty much all their lard and turned a deeper brownish color – you’ll know you’re ready to season once most of the foam here’s subsided.
So now just dip out most of your oil again, leaving about a shallow frying quantity remaining and of course, save that lard. absolutely awesome for stir-frying rice or veggies in.
And then, to season,the primary thing that’s gunna be doing the heavy lifting here is this stuff laozao.
Now, Laozao is fermented rice – you should be able to find it at a Chinese supermarket and it’s also a pretty easy home project, but if you really can’t find it your cuishao’ll still be tasty without, it’ll just be missing a little something.
So just combine three tablespoons of the fermented rice with three tablespoons of its liquid and a teaspoon of rice vinegar, mix that really well, breaking up the rice. and toss into the frying pork over a medium flame.
At this point though, move that around constantly – you want the laozao to caramelize and give everything a beautiful reddish-brown hue.
This should take about five minutes, so then go in with a combination of two teaspoons light soy sauce together with a teaspoon of dark.
Fry for another minute, then remove everything to a fine mesh strainer – small scraggly bits included.
Let the oil drain out, then move everything to a colander or something with similar sized holes.
At this point, the Cuishao will be a bit sticky – don’t panic, just continuously toss them up and down for about five minutes to cool down and let those scraggly bits drop off.
Now just transfer over to a paper towel-lined baking tray, pat any remaining oil away, and season with about a quarter teaspoon of salt and an eighth teaspoon white pepper powder.
And at this point, your Guizhou cracklins are done, ready to toss on your white rice or your bowl soup noodles.
So Cuishao originally is the by-product of making lard. But Guizhou people make it so tasty that it became a must-have ingredient in and of itself. Besides the pork belly one, there’s also something that’s more lean, or something that’s more fat. there’s a whole aisle that you can choose from.
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