Pork 5: Two Ways of Preparing Lung (豬肺二法)

持牲單::豬肺二法
洗肺最難,以冽盡肺管血水,剔去包衣為第一著。敲之、僕之,掛之、倒之,抽管割膜,工夫最細。用酒水滾一日一夜。肺縮小如一片白芙蓉,浮於湯面,再加作料,上口如泥。湯崖少宰宴客,每碗四片,已用四肺矣。近人無此工夫,只得將肺拆碎,入雞湯煨爛亦佳。得野雞湯更妙,以清配清故也。用好火腿煨亦可。

Pigs lungs for sale at a Chinese market. Laborious and tedious amounts of cleaning required. (Credit: Earthengine)

Pork(List of the Ceremonial Animal)::Two Ways of Preparing Lung
Lungs are the most difficult to clean of all the organs.[1] First, one has to clear the lungs’ bronchi [2] of all traces of blood and remove the membrane surrounding each lung. Then comes the delicate tasks of beating, squeezing, inverting, hanging the lung, and pulling out its numerous bronchial branches and tubes. [3]

Prepare the lung by boiling it in a mixture of water and wine for a day and a night. When the lung has shrunk to the size of a white hibiscus blossom, floating on the surface of the liquid, season as required and serve. The lung should be so tender that it falls apart and melts in the mouth.

When the Ancient Official Tang Ya [4] hosted banquets, each bowl would be served with four pieces of lung that were originally prepared from four whole lungs. People nowadays no longer have such skill, thus the lungs are prepared by tearing them into small pieces and cooking them in chicken broth until soft, which is still good. This preparation is even better using pheasant broth, which accompanies the gentle flavours of the lung with its own delicate flavours. One can also braise the lung with good ham.

Random notes:
[1]: Just when you thought pig stomach was a pain to clean, along comes pig lungs. To be honest, I didn’t think the lungs were eaten, but I should have known better. It seems to be used as a restorative in Chinese medicine for, not surprisingly, the treatment of lungs and respiratory systems related conditions. The traditional process for cleaning lung as described by Yuan Mei is messy and tedious, but thankfully technology in the form of commercial kitchen faucets and pressurized water sources has spurred on the development of an innovative “flow-through” lung cleaning technique. Just look at that snow white colour of those cleaned lungs!

[2]: These are the branching cartilage supported tubes that bring air into the depths of the lung, so you (or the pig) can breath.

[3]: The modern recipes I have looked at don’t removed the bronchial tubes. It seems you just slice everything up and then braise.

[4]: Shaozai (少宰) appears to some sort Vice Administrative Official from Zhou dynasty. In the case of “湯崖少宰”, I’m assuming 湯崖 is the person’s name.

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