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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables

Our lunch. What's good for the folks at Sarah  Center is good for us at home.
The Sarah Senior Citizens Activity Center is a care group set up in a block of single room rental flat in Singapore's Bukit Merah , catering to the needs of senior citizens of all creed and race. It is run by volunteers from church groups and coordinated by social workers.

Senior citizens living in poverty run into a gamut of problems. They lack  familial support and many  suffer from poor health. To meet their needs,  volunteers run programs  from social events to  handicraft programs  and physical exercises .  There is also a daily  food program for registered residents to look after their nutritional needs . For those who could not make it to the centre  for their communal meals, it would be delivered to them at their door step.

Here's where my teeny weeny role comes in. I am on the cooking roster and I contribute cooked food for 30 or so folks on a monthly basis. It is my longest serving  ministry  ever since I found out that I was incapable of  teaching in Sunday School because of kids-phobia.

Cooking for friends and cooking for at risk senior citizens is a totally different ball game. Most lack proper nutrition due to their poor finances coupled with ill health. One problem that I noticed is that dental issues severely restrict their food choices. Dental care in Singapore is expensive and most of the residents could ill afford a decent set of  dentures, if any at all.

Besides abiding to NEA's 4 hour rule for cooked food, I consider my contribution's nutritional value, using guidelines from organizations such as this. Finally, considerations  include their inability to masticate  food properly.  If only there is a dental ministry who will consider meeting  the dental needs  of these needy folks, I believe they will enjoy their meals even more.

Back to the dish. I was inspired by Luan's dish here and thought that the folks at Sarah Center will like it. Perhaps they were being polite but I would like to think their favorable response was real and earnest.

The original  recipe is from  Luan's mum here but here I have made  adaptations meant to address the  seniors'  problems. I have added a hint of chilli and ginger  as the taste buds of the senior citizens are not so sensitive. To make the meat and vegetables as soft as possible, the dish was prepared entirely in a pressure pot.

For 30.

3 kg pork thigh meat
600g dried and pre-cut  preserved Mustard Cabbage  ( sieved of grits and soaked for 24 hours )
6  Garlic cloves
3 slices  of ginger
8  whole dried chilli, deseeded
Rice Vinegar, 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp Dark Soya Sauce
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
 2  Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tsp cooking wine


 Sieve and soak cut vegetables for 24 hours. Wash thoroughly to rid grit and sand.

Cut pork to bite size.

In a pressure pot, saute garlic, ginger and dried chilli.  Add meat and stir to cook evenly.

Season with  wine, sesame oil,  soy sauce,  vinegar .

Fry and toss well. Add vegetable. Add a cup of water and simmer.

Cover and cook the dish under high pressure in the pressure pot, about 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot with rice.


  1. You are blessed to be a blessing to those folks. Praise the Lord.

  2. Luan, it was my privilege to serve. Thanks for the inspiration!