How to cook Chinese food Cantonese Braised Pomelo Skin? This week, we wanted to teach you how to make a classic Cantonese dish, braised pomelo skin.
Now, if you’re new to the dish this whole concept of a ‘braised pomelo skin’ is probably hitting you in one of two ways – first,
if you’re like a lot of people, you might’ve been unaware that you could braise a pomelo skin.
How To Cook Chinese Food Cantonese Braised Pomelo Skin?
Or barring that, for those in the West I know some of you might just be scratching your head right now thinking “wait,what’s a pomelo again”?
And on that front, as tempted as I am to turn this whole video into a treatise on citrus taxonomy, I’ll save my gas for another day.
The short story is that most of the citrus plants you know and love are actually hybrids between one of three ancestral citrus plants:Mandarins, Citrons, and, of course, Pomelos.
What you know of as oranges are actually a cross between Pomelos and Mandarins, and Grapefruits a backcross between Oranges and Pomelos.
So if you’ve never had one, you could maybe think of pomelo as sort of like a sweeter grapefruit, or maybe an orange minus the mandarin.
And in addition to being a nice fruit, pomelos’ve also got this super thick pith to them, which these days is usually just tossed in the rubbish bin.
But back in the day, people here would use their pomelos nose to tail, and with a bit of technique they would turn that thick
pith into a real show-stopper of a dish.
So, as befitting an old school Cantonese dish, today we’ve got an old school Cantonese guest cook to take us through all this Steph’s Dad, Dawei.
So first up, let’s slice up that pomelo.
To do so, make two incisions at the very top of the pomelo in a criss cross pattern, then, follow those cuts straight down and stop about two inches from the bottom.
Then with your fingers peel the skin and pith right off.
You can eat or do whatever you want with the fruit – this is the part we’ll need for the dish.
So next up, grilling the skin. See, like a lot of citrus, the actual skin of the pomelo.
can get quite bitter. Some people solve this by simply peeling it off, but if you go that route you end up losing pretty much all it’s
citrusy flavor. Grilling retains that flavor,
but you need get that yellow skin completely charred black with no color remaining – something like this is perfect. After that, immediately dunk it into cool water and scrape those charred bits right off.
You really don’t want to dilly dally here though, because if you wait too long that burnt flavor can get into the pomelo itself.
So just work through each piece of pomelo skin, changing the water after each one, and transfer them all to a clean bowl of water.
Now next up, soaking and squeezing. See, pomelo pith is basically like a sponge – we want to repeatedly saturate it, squeeze out the water, change the water, and toss it right back in.
This process gets the bitterness out of the pith, but it does take a while– you’ll need to repeat this process about eight or nine times, or until your water looks completely clear and is no longer slimy.
Now transfer your now-repeatedly-squeezed pomelo skin over to a chopping board, trim off the very end of it, and slice out that
hard bit on the pith side.
Now just cut each piece into thirds, toss them all back in a bowl of water, and squeeze each piece one more time.
After that, just toss your pomelo skins into a pot of bubbling water to give them a blanch.
Cover it up, and we’ll can let that go for about five minutes then transfer over to some cold water, and after a quick swap of
the water to make sure you don’t burn your mitts off, gently squeeze those one last time.
And with that, our pomelo skins are finally prepped.
Now, we’ll be braising those guys in the soup.
And on that front, you’ve got some options – here Dawei went with fish bones.
These were just the bones and heads of four mud carps or about a quarter of a kilo worth, first fried in about a tablespoon of lard.
But you can really use any fish bones you want here, and if you’re not in the habit of filleting at home, Dawei also said that shrimp shells were another classic choice.
Then once your fish bones are just starting to brown, about ninety seconds or so, hit that with one liter of cool water.
Bring that all up to a rapid boil and let it go for about five minutes, then remove your fish, strain, and reserve.
Same wok now, go in with a clove of minced garlic and fry that in about a tablespoon of lard.
Now, astute observers might notice that this garlic here did end up getting totally scorched.
We know – Dawei was working on an unfamiliar wok and unfamiliar stove.
I think we’ve all been there before. Not a big deal, we’ll fish them out later, for now just hit it with the mandatory tablespoon of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, and after a super brief mix go back in with your fish soup.
Toss in a half teaspoon of salt and sugar to give the braise a sort of base flavor, then add in your prepped pomelo skins. Bring that all up to a boil, and we’ll be boiling that covered til a chopstick can poke right through it or about five minutes.
Five minutes later now, season your braise with a quarter teaspoon of white pepper powder and – hard to source ingredient of the day– a half tablespoon of dried shrimp roe.
You’re 100% not gunna be able to find that dried roe though, so just swap that for some dried shrimp powder, which we’ll cover how to make down in the description.
And then this point, just hit it with another tablespoon of lard for good measure, and thicken with a slurry of a teaspoon of cornstarch together with a teaspoon of dark soy sauce and two tablespoons of water.
Let it all bubble and thicken for roughly another 30 seconds or so, and out. Make sure you get every last drop of sauce, and sprinkle over some sliced scallions.
Braised pomelo skin, done.
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