Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to prepare Small Pork Intestines (如何处理猪小肠)

Ah... I know lots of modern people don't take intestines nowadays. But intestines is a common food to me. It's like, another meat dish. Such small pork intestines can be fried, steamed, or braised. They can be served as a dish on it's own, eat with noodles, rice or even porridge.

I love intestines. I love it's sweet taste, it's bouncy texture and it's chewiness. And did you see how attractive the braised sweet intestine is? They are not ordinary small intestines. They are STUFFED!

8 Layers!!!!

And for the 1st attempt, I only did 4 layers. You can take a look at the difference.

Earlier on, I shared how to prepare pig stomach. This time, it's gonna be small pork intestines.

It may sounds tedious, but if we wants to enjoy this nice meaty small intestine, it's unavoidable. Unless you want to eat outside :)

The saddest part about this stuffed small intestine is that, it is almost impossible for you to get this type of stuffed small intestine easily. Simply because it is just too much work for people to do it for business. I knew there are some authentic Chinese restaurant does, but they are super high priced. One very small (almost pathetic) portion of braised stuffed sweet intestine could easily cost S$9.90. Oh well, but if you are not fussy, Kway Chap is everywhere around the hawker center. They do have sweet intestines, but they are not stuffed for sure.

This is the 1st time I did this. But I'm glad that I did it. When I called my mom and tell her I wanna  cook small pork intestines, I get 'piang'ed by my mom with her first sentence "Aiyahhhh... You don't know how to prepare one lahhh!!!"

You know? It's like, confidence level gena flushed down by one big pail of ice-cold water? Haiss...  But nevermind. Anyway, it's okay. It's part of my learning stage. Based on my mom's description through phone, courageously, I learn to do it myself :)

I bought some really nice small intestine and some ribs, because I planned to braise them (recipe will be out soon). For some people who don't know where does these small intestines comes from, here, this photo could gives you a clearer picture, although not in detail. The part in red. That's the small intestine (小肠) that I'm talking about. Some people called it pork intestine, some people recognize it as sweet intestine as usually major supermarts will label it as "sweet intestines".

Photo Credit : Westpol

But please do not mixed up. To my understanding, sweet intestines is the first portion of the small intestines called duodenum, also known as 粉肠, which is usually much more pricier than small intestines as it is not easy to get. Unless you are the butcher's good friend, and that should be easier :)

One of the nicest thing of eating intestines is that, we consume every part of the animal instead of wasting it. It's absolutely desirable to make good use of every part of the intestines and turn them into nice dishes. They have different structures and taste.

Cleaning Sweet Intestine method

1. First, snip away the inner layer of whitish skin-look-alike thing that originally joint together with the intestine. You don't need those. Once snipped away, your small intestine will then turned into a looooooong and straight piece.

2. Prepare bowl of salt and a bowl of corn flour (or tapioca flour). 

NOTE : For hygiene reason, DO NOT take your salt straight from your salt container with your bare hand and just rub it on the intestine, and then take the salt again! Urgh! This is really not hygiene. Please pour the salt on a bowl. If you can't finish those salt in the bowl after you cleaned the stomach, discard. Your finger touches the stomach, and then the salt, and then the stomach again... You still want to keep those salt? Hahaha...Anyway, this same applies to the corn flour / tapioca flour.

3. Apply a handful of salt on the intestine surface, give it a good rub. Leave it there for awhile and then rinse with running water. By now, you should get rid some of the slimy and greasy residue and smell. Rinse with running water. Repeat this at least twice to ensure they are well cleaned. 

4. . Once it's done,  flip the intestine inside out and wash the inner part. Refer to below photo, we just kinda stuff one side into the other side, and then you will be able to flip the inner part over. Once it's done, repeat the step 3 washing until they are well cleaned. 

5. Rinse with water until water runs clear and drain it.

They are now cleaned and drained. Looks like I have alot of them yea. Read on, and you will know that they are not alot actually.

6. Next, we will need to stuff the intestine into layers (4 layers or more if you want). Decide how many layers you want your sweet intestine to be. 4 layers? Cut them into 4 equal length. You want more? Divide accordingly. Don't forget. You need to divide them into equal length :)

7. Just use two fingers to expand one end of the intestine into a big hole, stuff in one layer. Once done, you get 2 layers of sweet intestine. With the double layered sweet intestine, take another intestine, expand the other end and stuff it in again. Like that, you will have 3 layers. Repeat the step for the 4th layers and if you want more, just repeat the steps again until you finished up the intestine. 

Because the intestine itself is smooth and slimy in texture, it will be able to slide in on it's own pretty well. Do it gently. Once you get the flow right, it's actually quite fun to do it :)

6. Once 4 layers are done, use a toothpick to poke on both ends. This is to secure the position of the stuffed intestine. And you could see from the photo.  They are expanded into bigger size.

This one... 4 layers.

This one..... 8 layers!!!

7. Boil the intestine in a boiling water for 5 minutes. The five minute boil will set it's shape and it also cooked away the slimy impurities. Once the stuffed intestine contact with hot water, it will shrink. And this explains the reason why we need to use toothpick to secure it's position. With this, it won't affect the stuffing effort that you just did.

8. Dish up the stuffed intestine and put them into tap water to let it cool down. There may be some impurities water might trapped inside the intestine. You may want to gently press the intestine to release the impurities water.

And after stuffing them, I only have that much of intestine for braising. Not alot actually.

Once stuffed intestine is completely cooled, remove the toothpicks at both end and it is ready to use/cook. With such stuffed intestine, it is usually used as braising. You could do this a week or two ahead, and stock up in your freezer! No fuss at all. 

This is my braised small intestine. Take a look at this! Look at the nice layers of intestine. Isn't it pretty? And no! it doesn't only gives you pretty look. It's yummy too! By stuffing the small intestines into multi-layers, it could gives bouncier and chewier texture. It makes you wanna eat more because they are so so so nice to chew! And the the braised sauce trapped in every layers, it gives every mouthful of intestine chew and flavor too!

I really love the delicate taste, the soft, smooth and yet bouncy texture. I simply couldn't tell you how much I love this! And I hope you are sold by now :D

For those who don't take intestines, I urge you to give it a try again. As long as you wash the intestine clean and prepare it well, you will learn to appreciate it.

For braising of small pork intestine, you may refer to this recipe :

Kampar Braised Pork Ribs Platter (金宝 "马来王" 卤排骨) - (MFF - Perak)

Happy cooking!


  1. My mom clean it this way too but I've seen her using a chopstick to do the stuffing.

  2. Hi Annie
    Great post, such a detailed tutorial !! Bookmarked for trying out in the near future. Thanks for the inspiration! xoxo
    Regards / Wendy

    1. Hi Wendy, do try it. Don't let the tradition and such old way of eating food died off. We should inspire the young generation to appreciate it :)

  3. I admired your determination and patience. Now can I come over and eat it? hahahahha

    1. Edith, when it is your family's favorite, you would probably go extra mile to do it for them. This is the push factor to make one determined :)

  4. Hi sorry when and where is the flour used?

  5. I grab some salt in my palm and massage it to the intestine. Then I grab some flour and massage that on top of the salt several times before rinsing.

  6. Hi! This can be used for making sausages, right?

  7. Hi. Great write up. I am intending to cook kway chap next week. Any idea where I can get small intestines, big intestines and also the powdery intestines (fen chang)

  8. Hi Annie,

    I just made Kway chap based on your post. It was super easy following your very clear instructions and pictures. My intestines didn't look as good as yours - only three layers but gosh they were delicious. Thank you so much! Kat

  9. Hi Annie

    I made Kway chap today based entirely on your very clear instructions and pictures! It was pure success!! Thank you so much - though I must say your intestines new looked way nicer than mine! Thank you.