If you are a fan of Chinese local food, you will notice that many hawkers add fried lard and lard oil in their cooking. The hawkers do that for a very good reason – lard give incredible flavour to the food. I know some of you may be uneasy about using lard in home-cooking, but I always believe everything (even good stuff) in moderation. I added a few crispy fried lard pieces and a tiny amount of lard oil in my fish ball soup and it enhances the tastes greatly. I bought 50 cents worth of pork fats (about 200 grams worth of pork belly skin) from the market and it makes the amount of lard and lard oil as shown in the photos. Although it is a small condiment dish, it will last quite a while for small family (2-4) cooking needs.
Also, if you have a cast iron or any non-teflon type of cookware, frying lard is a great way to season your wok or pan and give your cookware a natural, non-stick coating which will last for a few rounds of cooking. Can you see the amount of oil which was rendered from the photo above? You do not need any oil for frying the lard pieces, as oil will be rendered with heat, and the lard will start to fry themselves in the hot oil. The fried lard pieces soaked in lard oil keeps well unrefrigerated for about 1-2 weeks.
Some uses of fried lard and lard oil in Asian cooking:
The recipe uses a small amount of lard, only 200 grams, but feel free to use any amount desired as long as you do not overcrowd the wok. Cook in batches if necessary.
Serves:a small condiment dish of fried lard and lard oil
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
200 grams pig skin/pork belly fat patted very dry after rinsing
Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the pork belly skin to uniform, small cubes.
Heat a wok and add the fat cubes to occupy one layer in the wok. As the wok heats, you will see lard oil being rendered gradually, and the fat cubes will start to fry themselves in the sizzling oil. Stir and flip the lard pieces occasionally.
As soon as the lard pieces turn light golden brown, turn off the stove. The lard pieces will continue cooking in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown. If the desired colour is not achieved, turn on the stove and let the oil bubble for another 10 seconds. Repeat the cycle until lard pieces are golden brown.
Store fried lard in an airtight container, refrigerated and lard oil in a covered dish, at room temperature.
Store fried lard soaked in lard oil in a condiment dish. It will last for quite a while at room temperature. If you refrigerate the dish, simply place it at room temperature for about 20 minutes, where the solidified oil will become liquid again.
Noob Cook Tips
Instead of washing the wok right after cooking the lard, stir-fry a dish without adding any oil – the remaining oil which clings on the surface of the wok will be sufficient for a stir-fry dish and it will be delicious!
Just like sambal belacan, cooking lard will stink the kitchen so remember to open your windows and air your kitchen.