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豬蹄四法Four methods of cooking pig’s feet


Take one knuckle, no hoof, and simmer in water until tender. Discard the liquid. Stew with one jin of good liquor, one and a half cups of light soy sauce,[1] a little dried mandarin orange peel, and four or five jujubes until [all] is thoroughly cooked. Before serving, sprinkle liquor [infused with] green onions and Sichuan pepper,[2] and remove the dried mandarin orange peel and jujubes. This is the first method.


Another method: prepare shrimp stock instead of water, stew the knuckle [in the stock] with added liquor and autumn soy sauce.[3]


Another method: take a knuckle and cook it until well done. Dip in simmering plain oil until the skin is wrinkled, and then braise with spices and seasonings. Some villagers like to eat the skin first, calling [this action] ‘lifting the quilt’.


Another method: take a knuckle and enclose it in two bowls; add cooking wine and autumn soy sauce and steam it for [the burning time of] two incense sticks.[4] [This is] called ‘meat for the immortals’, the house of Surveillance [Commissioner] Qian makes it with utmost sophistication.


* From Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716-1798), Suiyuan shidan 隨園食單 (annotated by Zhou Sanjin 周三金 et al.; Beijing: Zhongguo shangye chubanshe, 1984), 49; also:


[1] The term qingjiangjiu 清醬酒 (light soy sauce cooking wine) could be a mistake for qingjiangyou 清醬油 (light soy sauce); see, for example, the Suiyuan shidan edition annotated by Bie Xi 別曦 (Xi’an: San Qin chubanshe, 2005), 70.

[2] An alternative reading is “sprinkle green onions, Sichuan pepper (or chillies), and cooking wine”.

[3] Qiuyou 秋油 (autumn soy sauce) is the first batch of soy sauce collected in autumn, after exposing the fermented soybeans to summer heat for about a month; see Wang Shixiong 王士雄 (1808-1867), Suixiju yinshipu 隨息居飲食譜 (Xi’an: San Qin chubanshe, 2005; annotated by Liu Zhuqin 劉築琴), 93 (text also available at, but with a few missing characters).

[4] About 1.5 to 2 hours.

Album leaf by Wang Su 王素 (1794-1877)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei


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