Pickled Pig Ears with Calamondin and Lemongrass – Lo Tai Heo Ngam Xa Tac

 

Lo Tai Heo Ngam Xa Tac Collage

I love any food with cooked pig ears.  The following pictorial recipe for Vietnamese pickled pig ears with calamondin and lemongrass is an inspiration from Kieu Shafai, admin of A Taste of Vietnamese Home Cooking group on Facebook.  Thanks to Kim Nguyen from Apopka, Florida for the homegrown calamondins.   This pictorial is created especially for my husband so he can make it next time for his soccer buddies.

  • Prep time: 1.5 hour
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Serving: 7-8 quarts

Ingredients: 

  • 12-15 pig ears (about 5 lb)
  • 1 gal water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp salt
  • 1 gal water+1/4 cup vinegar+2 Tbsp salt
  • 6 – 9 lemongrass stalks
  • 1 lb shallots
  • 3 dozens calamondin (1.2 lb)
  • 2 garlic heads
  • 9 – 12 Thai chili peppers

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Fish sauce mixture: (Amount) is to be added for every 1.5 pound of pig ears. 

  • 1 1/4 cup Viet Huong fish sauce (about 7 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup rice vinegar (1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 3  Tbsp salt (1 Tbsp)
  • 10 cup water (3 1/3 cup)

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Notes:

  • The measurements for the fish sauce mixture are the total amount I ended up using. I didn’t make enough at first and had to make more to cover up the sliced pig ears at the end.
  • I bought three trays of pig ears at New Golden Sparking Market in Orlando, Florida and each tray contains about four or five pig ears which weigh about 1.5 to 1.8 pound per tray.
  • This is my second batch. I didn’t have enough fresh shallots my first time making this so I substituted with fried shallots and it still turned out good.

Direction: 

1. Boil the fish sauce mixture:  In a medium pot, bring the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and water to a boil and let cool.  Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.

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2.  Put the pig ears in a big bowl and pour in one cup of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of salt and fill up the bowl with water to completely cover the pig ears. It’s about a gallon of water. Mix everything up well and let the pig ears soak in the solution.

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3.  While soaking the pig ears in the vinegar and salt solution,  cut 4 lemongrass stalks into 5-inch segments and bruised it by pounding it.   Peel half a pound of shallots whole.

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4.  In a large 12-quart pot, bring water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the pig ears that have been sitting in the vinegar and salt solution.   Add the pig ears into the big pot along with half a pound of peeled whole shallots and bruised lemongrass stalks.  Add 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt, and more water if needed to cover the pig ears completely.  Cook the pig ears for 30 minutes with steady constant boil.

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5.  While cooking the pig ears, cut the calamondins in halves.  Peel the garlic bulbs and slice it thinly.  Cut the Thai chili peppers. Minced the remaining lemongrass stalks,  slice the remaining half pound of shallots.  Set these ingredients to a side.

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6.  Fill large container with ice water.  As soon the thirty minutes of cooking the pig ears are up, immediately take the pig ears out and submerge it into the container of iced water.  Let the pig ears soak in the ice water for 30 minutes.  This step helps make the pig ears crunchy. 

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7.   I washed the big pot and transferred the pig ears with iced water into the pot.  Mix the fish sauce mixture with the other ingredients in the big container. (If you have a little helper, don’t place the pot of iced water with pig ears next to the container with the other ingredients. My little man tried to dump the stuff into the iced water pot instead of the empty container.  Luckily, I stopped him in the nick of time.)

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8.  Take the pig ears out of the iced water bath and slice it into thin strips. Then add the sliced pig ears into the big container.

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Stir well.  Store in air tight containers.  Store in the fridge and the pickled pig ears should be ready to eat after two hours or the next day preferably.

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I am addicted to this crunchy snack. This is my second batch. Enjoy!

If I’m just making for my husband and me, I’ll probably use just one tray of pig ears which is about 1.5 lb, but since I had plenty of calamondins, I made a large batch to share with my husband’s soccer buddies. Now I have a reason to grow a calamondin tree.

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