Pork 21: Furong Pork (芙蓉肉)

持牲單::芙蓉肉
精肉一斤,切片,清醬拖過,風乾一個時辰。用大蝦肉四十個,豬油二兩,切骰子大,將蝦肉放在豬肉上。一隻蝦,一塊肉,敲扁,將滾水煮熟撩起。熬菜油半斤,將肉片放在眼銅勺內,將滾油灌熟。再用秋油半酒杯,酒一杯,雞湯一茶杯,熬滾,澆肉片上,加蒸粉、蔥、椒,糝上起鍋。

Furong is a type of Hibiscus, but the name is also used to describe irregularly shaped foods, as in the case of this recipe. (Credit: Shizhao)

Pork(List of the Ceremonial Animal)::Furong Pork[1]
Slice one jin of lean pork, dip each of the slices in light soy sauce, and let them dry in open air for two hours. Shell forty large shrimp and cut two liang of whole lard into small dice. Place one whole shrimp and a piece of lard on each slice of pork and pound the shrimp and lard flat onto the pork. Place the pork in boiling water to cook through. [2]

Heat half a jin of vegetable oil, place the pieces of pork onto a large skimming spoon, and ladle hot oil over them until done. Bring to boil half a wine-cup of autumn sauce, one cup of wine, and half a tea-cup of chicken broth, and pour on top of the pork. Finish by adding steamed rice noodles [3], green onion, and Szechuan pepper to the pork before serving.

Random notes:
[1]: This is same “furong” as “fu-young” in egg fu young. In Chinese cuisine, the name of this complex-looking hibiscus flower is given to irregularly shaped foods or egg-based dishes. In Northern China, egg-based foods are almost almost always called “furong”-something.

[2]: The steps here as described in this first part by Yuan Mei are pretty vague and incomplete, and required me to look up a few contemporary recipes to piece things together. Basically, it’s a translation with a few bits added here and there to make things make sense.

[3]: Zhengfen (蒸粉) should be a type of steamed rice noodle, it seems rather strange to use it in a Chinese dish in such a manner that I’m wondering whether I got this wrong.

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2 thoughts on “Pork 21: Furong Pork (芙蓉肉)”

  1. There seems to be a small problem here. Could this dish be then made rather like an “involtino” in Italian cuisine? The meat is then doubled over so that the lard and shrimp do not float away? The use of the hot oil to crisp the meat and the sauce added seems to make a delicious dish. Obviously it takes some skill.

    1. There are two ways that modern furong pork recipes prevent the separation: (1) using a bit of starch slurry or egg white to stick everything together or (2) using salt/soysauce to cause the albumin in the shrimp/lard to stick to the pork. The latter technique is likely what Yuan Mei is describing in the recipe. The trick is that one has to wait short while after flattening for the “sticking” to happen and everything has to be relatively dry for this to work. Done right, either method would allow the pork and shrimp to not fall apart.

      The use of shrimp, salt and lard is essentially the same method as making shrimp cakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LHKroJDw5M

      And you’re right, this probably take a good bit of skill and at least a bit of experimentation.

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