You may be sick of lechon based posts as a result of the Zubuchon obsession of Marketman and crew. But you just HAVE to read this post and try this recipe if you are a bonafide pork and/or noodle fan. I was wondering what to cook for lunch yesterday at the Cebu office, and was feeling a whole lot of deja vu’s with possible grilled pork, fish, and similar dishes. I wondered out loud if a lechon mami might be the answer. I ran out to the lechonan, caught the last 2 whole lechons for the retail outlets just before they were loaded onto the vans, and cut off 4 legs and a bit of one thigh. The meatiest parts were set aside, the other parts thrown into a stock pot with some onions and leeks, and set to go on a rolling boil…
We rushed out to the grocery, purchased some fresh egg noodles, vegetables, some frozen siopao and softdrinks, and by the time we got back to the office forty minutes later, we had a nice cloudy and tasty stock. I added some water to the stock, some salt and julienned carrots and let this boil a bit more. The stock was going for about 1 hour total. The resulting base stock was VERY GOOD for the minimal effort. Ramen stocks often take a day to make properly, so I was pleasantly surprised by this instantish lechon stock. If you are pressed for time, add a small packet of pork stock powder, but only if necessary. Flavor with a bit of kikkoman soy sauce and ground pepper. No MSG necessary.
Meanwhile, turn to your mise en place. Boil as many eggs as guests who are going to eat the noodles. Stick the eggs in water, turn on the heat, let it reach a boil, then wait 1 minute and turn off the heat. Remove from the water 3-4 minutes later, and peel when cool enough to handle. I like my eggs just done, so I take them out of the hot water 2-3 minutes earlier. Next, chop up some chicharon with laman into smaller than bite sized pieces. Chop up the lechon meat into small pieces. Slice some snow peas on the bias or diagonal. Wash some slightly sprouted mung bean sprouts. Slice, wash and drain some napa cabbage and pechay. Chop some green onions. You can do all of this while the broth is boiling away. And with several co-workers put to task, this was done in less than 15 minutes. :)
Complaints about an “off” taste in local commercial noodles are something I completely understand. To prevent or minimize the issue, I wash the noodles and drain them. Then I boil them in hot water for roughly 3-4 minutes and drain them again. This seems to “wash off” some of the chemical taste.
You are now ready to assemble your Zubumami. To the boiling broth, add the bean sprouts, snow peas and greens and cook for 1-2 minutes before turning off the heat. Portion out some noodles to each serving bowl, ladle hot broth with vegetables onto the noodles, top with chopped lechon, chicharon and green onions and serve. We also had some siopao asado on the side.
Everyone eating the noodles went DEAD SILENT for several minutes. I kid you not. Like someone had passed away and we didn’t know what to say. Some folks added sriracha chili sauce to their bowls of noodles, others did not. You could hear the chicharon absorbing the hot broth. A bit of slurping due to the long noodles. The soup was surprisingly SUPERB for such a short and easy procedure employed. The bits of lechon, chicharon, etc. all worked well together. The boiled egg was not required and added bulk and texture only. This was a SLAM DUNK EXPERIMENTAL HIT!
This soup made use of the less desirable parts of a lechon (we have LOTS of lechon legs after selling all the prime parts. It also makes use of the thigh meat, which is often the last to sell in Cebu, but which honestly is the best “bang for your buck” usually. The other ingredients are all reasonably priced, and yet the result is a rich and satisfying bowl of noodles that trumps anything instant or commercial. I would almost pit this against mediocre to good bowls of ramen noodles in many Japanese restaurants!
Of course we immediately christened it Zubumami, and hope that some day we will be able to serve it to the public. For now, it is something we will enjoy at future office lunches. The next time you have lechon at a party or special occasion, remember to keep the legs and some meat for soup broth and try this recipe. You won’t regret it. :)