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Okinawa Pig Feet Soup
Ryukyu Islands, Japan

10 soup  
1-3/4 hrs  

This is one of the signature dishes of Okinawa, often served at festivals and gatherings - and its fame has spread as far as Hawaii and California. As with most traditional dishes there are many variations. Persons uncomfortable with pig feet might prefer the very closely related Okinawa Pig Rib Soup.




Pig's Feet (1)
Ginger root
Black Mushrooms (3)
Nishimi Konbu (4)
Daikon, small (5)
Awamori (6)
Miso, white
Dashi (opt) (7)
-- Finish
Mustard Greens
-- Options
Winter Melon
  1. Roast PIG'S FEET in the broiler skin side up until a few blackened spots appear (see Note-2).
  2. Put Pig Feet into a large pot and cover with water by about 2 inches as they'll swell a bit. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat for about 2 minutes, then pour it all out into the sink. Wash the pot and rinse the pig feet, returning them to the pot. Add 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice GINGER thin and add to the pot, then turn down to a simmer for another 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile:   Soak the MUSHROOMS in warm water for about 1/2 hour. Stem and quarter them and set aside.
  5. Soak KONBU for about 1/2 hour. Cut into strips about 3/4 inch by 2 inches and set aside.
  6. Peel DAIKONS and cut into about 1 inch lengths, then into half moons.
  7. When Pig's Feet have cooked their time, pull them out of the broth and de-fat the broth using your gravy separator or some other device. Wash the pot and return both the broth and the pig feet.
  8. Add Daikon, Konbu, Mushrooms, Salt and Awamori. Simmer another 20 minutes.
  9. Cut MUSTARD GREENS into strips about 3/4 inch by 2 inches and parboil briefly. Drain and set aside.
  10. Stir some hot broth into the Miso and blend, then add to the pot. Check your stock for salt and flavor - if you think it needs a bit more flavor stir in Dashi. Take off heat.
  11. Serve in individual bowls, a hunk or two of pig foot, some konbu, daikon and mushrooms, and a few strips of mustard greens.
  1. Pig Feet:   Buy pig feet cut in half lengthwise (bandsawed, actually) and twice crosswise so all pieces are less than 4 inches long. Many ethnic markets have them already cut in shrink-wrap trays. You can cut feet yourself using a very sharp Chinese cleaver knife driven by a soft faced mallet. For details see our Pig Feet page.
  2. Broiling:   This comes from the former need to singe the feet to remove hairs. Pig feet sold here have no hair. This operation contributes to color but little to flavor, so can be omitted.
  3. Black Mushroom:   Also called "Forest Mushroom", these are actually dried shiitakis. For details see our Shiitake Mushrooms page.
  4. Konbu - Kelp:   Nishimi Konbu, thinner than regular konbu, is used in Okinawa, but a thin sheet of regular can be used. About 6 inches by 6 inches will do. For details see our Konbu / Kelp page.
  5. Daikon:   Use small daikons because large ones have stiff fibers you don't notice when raw, but they make them unpleasant cooked.
  6. Awamori:   The Okinawan version of Japanese Shochu (a 45% liquor single distilled from fermented rice). Shochu tastes a lot like sake with some vodka in it, and since neither awamori nor shochu is easily available in most of the US you can just use sake with a little vodka in it, or even just sake.
  7. Dashi   This is a dry powdered soup stock made largely kelp and dried bonito - available at any market serving a Japanese or Korean community.
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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