During their first two years in college, Sam (who wasn’t a vegetarian yet at the time) and Alex often raved about fried “isaw” (intestines) sold by ambulant vendors near the school. The pig’s large intestine is cut into thick rings, cleaned, boiled, skewered, dredged in flour or bread crumbs then deep fried. Delicious, they said, the texture quite different from that of grilled “isaw” because the coating forms a crisp crust.
Speedy and I still haven’t tried them to this day. Near the center of town here in the suburb, some vendors sell fried “isaw” too but they use the small intestines. And I don’t like small intestines. I prefer the large one — like this.
One time last week, I thought about fried “isaw” as I stared at a bowl of thinly sliced pork that I planned on cooking for lunch. Well, why not cook it the way they do fried “isaw” near the girls’ school? I took the soy sauce mixture left over from making the soy sauce eggs and drizzled it onto the pork. I mixed the sauce and meat by hand, turning everything over until the meat had soaked up the sauce.
Meanwhile, I started heating about two cups of cooking oil in a wok.
I threaded the pork slices with bamboo skewers (which I had to cut to fit into the wok) and sprinkled the meat with corn starch on all sides. When the oil was hot, I dropped in the skewers side by side and fried the meat over medium heat until golden.
Using tongs, I lifted out each skewer, allowing the oil to drip back into the wok.
With the meat off the oil, I turned the heat to high.
The skewered meat were arranged on a plate where I gave them a bath of simple syrup that had been infused with kaffir lime leaves.
The syrup-coated meat went back into the hot oil where they fried over very high heat for about a minute. I wanted to taste one as soon as I removed the meat from the oil but I still needed to cook the rice.
So, the meat was set aside momentarily. I poured the oil off the wok, leaving only a tablespoonful. And into the hot wok went day-old rice, salt, pepper and snipped Chinese chives. As I stirred the rice, the browned bits from the meat got mixed in, adding flavor and color.
To complete our lunch, I asked Speedy to shell two salted eggs.
And that was lunch.
And, yes, the fried skewered pork was crisp and delicious, and I really wished that there was more. There’s always next time, anyway.