Having my parents around had the added advantage of being able to cook and eat food that I wouldn’t usually if it were just J and I (i.e. pork and/or more traditional Chinese dishes). They also brought over a ‘Thermo Pot’ for me all the way from home. So, when we were going to make a day trip to Sacramento, I decided to braise some pork belly in the Thermo Pot for us to come home to in the evening.
The Thermo Pot is a kitchen ‘appliance’ that my parents believe that no kitchen should be without. I say ‘appliance’, because what it is is essentially a slow-cooker that does not utilize any electricity. Food is heated to a boil and placed inside the pot. The vacuum inside the pot minimizes heat loss, and keeps the food hot enough to continue cooking for many hours. When asking me what I wanted from home, my parents were very insistent that I should get a Thermo Pot, and were elated when I finally agreed to have them bring me one.
Couple of pictures of the Thermo Flask. The metal pot inside can be removed and used on the stove to heat/boil the food, before being placed back into the bigger pot/shell.
As for the pork belly, this was a dish that I haven’t cooked since university, and it was a bit of a struggle to try and remember and gather what I needed before my parents arrived. Surprisingly, to me at least, pork belly isn’t easily available in the stores near us – I had to go to the Asian supermarket in order to pick up some (whereas this cut of meat can be found in most supermarkets in London and at home). I also could not remember the recipe I used before, and ended up falling back on this other recipe I found.
Pork belly is a very fatty piece of meat, which might be a turn off for many people. However, after braising the meat for hours, the meat becomes extremely tender, and the fat melts away. I don’t do this, but my parents were scraping off the remaining fat from the skin, and eating said skin. Pork skin supposedly contains a lot of collagen, but I can’t quite stomach eating the it because of its soft, jelly-like texture.
I served the braised pork belly over white rice, and with bok choy in oyster sauce and garlic oil (my parents laughed at me for even having a recipe for this, but the recipe can be found here). The photo below was taken with leftovers, so the bok choy was prepared differently.
My parents enjoyed the meal, but J excused himself to go get some Taco Bell instead. I can convince him to try more traditional Chinese / Asian cooking, but certain foods still remain a no-no for him. One day, maybe.