A lot of things started in Durham. Bad habits, strange habits, freedom, exploration, adventures, friendships etc.
The habit of buying snacks off the shelves of the supermarkets in Durham, such as at Tesco and Sainsbury, allowed us to derive a lot of simple joy and pleasure back then. Indeed, it was at this very, very small supermarket inside the main Durham city that we caught sight of Mr Porky, probably one of the world’s unhealthiest snacks. These are deep-fried and salted pork rinds that are really crunchy and crispy and salty. Apparently, the English love to accompany their beer with this pub snack which they call pork scratchings, especially while watching soccer matches (what a stereotype). I love to have it just about anywhere, any time.
Similar types of crispy pork snacks can also be found in many other places. In Thailand, they deep-fry pork skin to give a much lighter, airier and oilier snack. They call this ‘Khaep mu‘. In Singapore, we deep-fry pork lard and hide them under our dry chilli noodles (Chinese style). We call this ‘lar pok‘. That’s got to be my favourite…!
Shall try ‘lar pok’ the next time round. For now, let’s just stick to pub scratching and beer to go with the Olympic games.
- Salt: 1/2 cup
- Pork skin (or rind): 500g, scored diagonally with knife on both sides, cut into 1 x 5cm strips
- Oil: enough for deep-frying (about 500ml)
- Paprika: to taste
- Dried mixed herbs: to taste
- Rub salt onto both sides of pork skin. Leave to dry out overnight in fridge.
- Heat oil in wok.
- Add pork skins or rinds into oil. Deep-fry till puffed up and golden brown.
- Place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Sprinkle with paprika and herbs to serve (with beer)!
- I actually tried to pan-fry the rind in its own fat till they crackled and puffed up and browned, which took almost an hour to do so. Deep-frying them right from the start would save you all that time and trouble.
- Make sure that you dry the skin really well before you fry them, otherwise you are in for some serious blisters!
1 full tray of scratching