Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pork Sparerib with Cogon Grass Soup

Once in a while we go to Chinatown.  In our last trip there, we found some fresh cogon grass.  When A-te J saw them, she asked what they were for and I replied it was for a medicinal soup that's common in Chinese cuisine, particularly Cantonese cuisine.  She held back a laugh saying that where she comes from, the cogon grass was used for burning not for eating.  I laughed along, commenting the weirdness of things - one man's trash is (quite literally) another man's treasure!

Anyway, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this grass (Rhizoma Imperatae, 茅根 ) has cooling properties, aiding to dispel heat and helping bladder function.  It has a sweetish taste.

I was told that the cogon grass can be simmered with water to produce herbal tea but this I haven't tried.  I am more familiar (and comfortable) with the soup version of it -

The recipe:

1 bundle of fresh cogon grass (about 30 to 60 grams)
or 15-30 grams dried
6 to 8 cups of water
400 to 500 grams of pork spare ribs
1 small onion

Clean the spare ribs, remove the fat.  Blanch.

Wash the cogon grass and blanch.

Boil the water.  Add the onion, cogon grass and pork.  Simmer for 3 hours (or use the magic cooker).

This recipe has alternate and/or additional ingredients:

1 chinese pear, sliced into large cubes and 4 honey dates, soaked in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.  Add the pear cubes and soaked dates together with all other ingredients. This results in a sweeter tasting soup.

The pork spare ribs can be substituted with 1/2 chicken or 1 whole native chicken or even black chicken.  In which case, a thumb of smashed ginger should be added to the soup too.

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