Laoma Tihua (Braised Pork Trotter) – a classic Sihuan cuisine

laoma tihua

Laoma Tihua (老妈蹄花), also known as Spicy Sichuan Braised Pork Trotters, is a beloved dish in Sichuan cuisine that offers a delightful combination of bold flavors and spicy goodness. If you’re introducing this dish to foreigners, here is a detailed description to help them understand and appreciate it:

Laoma Tihua is a traditional Sichuan dish that showcases the vibrant and distinctive flavors of the region. The dish primarily features pork trotters, which are the front feet of a pig. These trotters are carefully prepared, ensuring they are cleaned thoroughly and cut into smaller, manageable pieces.

The hallmark of Sichuan cuisine is its unique use of spices, particularly Sichuan peppercorns. These tiny, reddish-brown peppercorns possess a distinct numbing sensation that is characteristic of Sichuan dishes. In Laoma Tihua, Sichuan peppercorns are combined with dried chili peppers, which lend the dish its fiery heat and contribute to its overall spiciness.

To create the flavorful braising liquid, the dish incorporates other key ingredients. Ginger and garlic are added to the mix, infusing the dish with their aromatic flavors. Doubanjiang, a fermented broad bean paste, is used to enhance the umami taste and intensify the spiciness of the dish. Additionally, soy sauce provides a savory and salty element, while a touch of sugar is added to balance the spiciness and add a hint of sweetness.

The cooking process begins by blanching the pork trotters in boiling water, which helps remove impurities and excess fat. Once blanched, the trotters are transferred to a flavorful broth infused with ginger, garlic, and Chinese cooking wine. This step tenderizes the meat and eliminates any residual gaminess. After simmering the trotters in the broth, they are removed and set aside momentarily.

In a wok or large pan, Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers are dry roasted to release their aromatic oils and bring out their flavors. Then, ginger, garlic, and doubanjiang are added and stir-fried until fragrant, creating a tantalizing aroma that fills the kitchen. The partially cooked pork trotters are returned to the wok and coated with the mixture of spices and seasonings. This allows the flavors to permeate the meat, ensuring every bite is packed with flavor.

To complete the dish, water or broth is added to cover the pork trotters, and the entire mixture is simmered over low heat. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in tender and succulent pork trotters infused with the rich and spicy broth. The final dish is often garnished with fresh green onions and cilantro, adding a touch of brightness and freshness.

Laoma Tihua is a true representation of Sichuan cuisine, known for its bold and spicy flavors. When foreigners taste this dish, they will experience a unique combination of numbing and spicy sensations that Sichuan cuisine is famous for. The tender pork trotters bathed in the flavorful broth will leave a lasting impression and showcase the incredible culinary heritage of Sichuan Province.

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