Hed Chef: Cockles and bean sprouts
I am not going to lie. Using lard oil and fried lard makes a difference. If you want to eat this dish, be prepared to sin, big time.
The healthiest ingredients in this dish are the bean sprouts, spring onion and garlic, but since they are combined with cockles, lard and salted fish, I strongly doubt it qualifies as a healthier choice of food.
But what it certainly qualifies as is comfort food for the soul, especially for cockle and lard lovers.
I am aware that there are those who detest bean sprouts.
I cannot comprehend how anyone can hate lovely and crunchy tau geh.
Perhaps this could be the dish to change your mind.
If you have had traumatic experiences involving sad, limp, overcooked and mushy tau geh, you need to let go of the past and give bean sprouts another chance.
You may yet find space in your heart for them.
Mind you, this is not an everyday dish, not with shelled cockles being so pricey.
The question is, do you prefer sitting around shelling cockles or eating cockles?
- 300g raw pork fat, cut into 2.5cm cubes
- 2 tbsp lard oil
- 20g salted fish, cut into 1cm squares
- 4 garlic cloves
- 300g bean sprouts
- 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp fish sauce
- 300g raw shelled cockles
- Dash of ground white pepper
- 2 stalks of spring onion, cut into 5cm lengths
1. Over low heat, fry the pork fat in a
non-stick wok for 15 to 20 minutes until the fat renders and the lard cubes are browned and crispy. Set aside to cool. Store unused lard oil and fried lard in an air-tight jar.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of lard oil in a wok.
3. Add the salted fish. Fry over medium-low heat for 1 minute until browned.
4. Add the chopped garlic and fry for 45 seconds.
5. Add the bean sprouts. Fry for 1 minute over high heat.
6. Add the light soy sauce and fish sauce.
7. Add the raw cockles and white pepper.
8. Add the spring onion, turn off the heat and stir through briefly before transferring to serving dish.
9. Garnish with a tablespoon of crispy pork lard and serve.