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.
Update (Mar 2014): The most tedious part of the recipe must be cutting the pork fats into small cubes. For convenience, I buy the pre-cut lard cubes from Sheng Siong supermarket so all I have to do is to cook it. I don’t even wash it beforehand, as any small bit of moisture will cause messy splattering.
Some uses of fried lard and lard oil in Asian cooking:
Feel free to use any amount of lard as long as you do not overcrowd the wok. For convenience, you can buy pre-cut lard pieces from Sheng Siong supermarket (Singapore).
Serves: roughly 50g fried lard pieces & 250ml lard oil
Prep Time: 15 mins (if cutting your own lard pieces)
Cook Time: 10-15 mins