So how in the world did I discover milk that is flavored(and tastes) like melon? I found it at an Asian supermarket and if I lived in the Southern Hemisphere(where it's currently winter in July), I probably would've used the melon milk in some sort of stew. But 'tis not the season for stew up here in the Northern Hemisphere and serendipitously, I had to figure out what to do with the 6 pig ears i bought for just 6 bucks! After doing my online research on how to cook pig ears, I discovered one of the ways to cook it is to braise it in water for 2 1/2 hours. Instead of all of the liquid being water in this video, I used melon milk instead!
Ultimately, the pig ears didn't taste like the melon milk it was braised in but it did taste like bacon(which also happens to come from a pig) in the form of a thin steak, with the fatty parts of the ears being reminiscent of the richness that is beef bone marrow. Surprisingly, my kitchen smelled like popcorn as the pig ears were braising, even though the ears didn't taste like popcorn. But popcorn isn't a bad smell either!
You just can't eat pig ears for dinner(because that would be boring), so I had some veggies in the form of buffalo cauliflower to serve as a color contrast to drab brown that is braised pig ears, along with some wonton strips for a textural contrast and Korean BBQ sauce for dipping the pig ears in.
Preparing the ears was very interesting, to say the least. In case you didn't know, pig ears are hairy, so you have to shave the hair off with a disposable razor. Do not use shaving cream- that stuff isn't edible!
Speaking of shaving cream, I think of the reboot of The Gong Show when I think of shaving cream, with "Albert Sing-a-Long" singing Benny Bell's 1946 song "Shaving Cream" halfway throughout each episode. These lyrics stick in my head:
"Last night when I walked into my bathroom
I stepped in a big pile of ...shhhhh . . . aving cream,
be nice and clean. . . .
Shave ev'ry day and you'll always look keen."
If the singer stepped into a pile of shit instead, that would be hilarious, but then one has to wonder why there was a pile of shit on the floor in the first place. #philosophicalrant
I'm pretty sure you couldn't say the word "shit" back in 1946 though.
You may notice I only cooked 4 ears in the video when I mentioned I had 6. Well that's because my largest saucepot only had room for four ears. But I didn't waste the other 2, for I used them in Korean pancakes the following night. Note to self: pig ears don't like to be sauteed! But I don't blame them because I wouldn't want to pour hot oil over my ears either.
My dad initially said he was going to try a piece of the pig ears, but he chickened out at the last moment. :(
HELPFUL LINK: Melon Milk: www.amazon.com/Binggrae-Melon-Flavored-Drink-6-pack/dp/B00PXDYZZA/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1499540898&sr=8-1&
You will need:
For the cooking equipment:
A large saucepot with lid
For the dish:
4-6 pig ears(available at many Asian supermarkets)
Enough water to fill 60% of your large saucepot
At least 24 oz. melon-flavored milk(see HELPFUL LINK)
1/4 cup red cooking wine
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of apple pie spice or star anise
Pinch of cinnamon
Veggies(I used buffalo cauliflower)
Korean BBQ sauce
1. Thaw the ears out in the fridge for 24 hours. If there's still ice on the ears after that, just remove it with your fingers. Shave all the hair of the pig ears with disposable razors by shaving up and down the ears. You want the pig ears to feel smooth to the touch.
2. Pour enough water to fill 60% of your large saucepot and bring that water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the pig ears into the boiling water. You want the water to ideally submerge the ears.
3. Parboil(partially boil) the ears for 5-10 minutes to get rid of any impurities. Note: the water will stop boiling once you put the pig ears in, as the ears are at room temperature by this point. Count down from 5-10 minutes once the water starts boiling again.
4. After parboiling, take the ears out of the boiling liquid and drain the water. Clean the saucepot.
5. Once the saucepot is cleaned, pour the melon milk into it. If there's not enough milk to fill the saucepot 60% of the way, add water until you reach that point(I needed 2 cups of water). Pour the wine, soy sauce, granulated sugar, apple pie spice or star anise, and cinnamon into the large saucepot and mix all the ingredients up.
6. Place the pig ears into the saucepot and bring everything to a boil.
7. Once the melon milk mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, put the lid on the pot, and let the ears simmer(braise) for 2 1/2 hours. Submerge the ears in the liquid every once in a while, as they have a tendency to float to the surface.
8. Once the ears are done braising(simmering), take them out of a saucepot and onto a plate. Place the ears into the fridge for 30 minutes to let them chill to room temperature.
9. Serve with veggies, wonton strips, and Korean BBQ sauce. Bon appetit!