How to Clean and Prepare Pig’s Kidney for Cooking – This tutorial shows you step-by-step how to clean, prepare, store, and cook pig’s kidney.
I know no matter how I put it, pig’s kidney is just pure gross for probably 99.9% of the earth’s population. I happen to fall outside that 99.9% of the population. I LOVE to eat kidney (of any kind!). Mom used to cook kidneys quite often when I was a kid. Probably that’s why I like it.
NO, it doesn’t taste like chicken! Not everything tastes like chicken. When it is cooked properly (not overcooked), the kidney is tender and the texture is nice. It’s not like the liver, which I like too, that can taste a bit sandy (I still like it!). The kidney is nice! seriously! But, you need to know how to clean and prepare it properly or you will not be happy with the result (the smell of urine? ring any bell?)
IS KIDNEY ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU TO EAT?
Some of the Chinese (my mom included) believe that eating kidneys is good for YOUR kidneys. Kidneys in general are high in some of the Bs vitamins and iron. There’s no harm in eating it, unless you have a specific health condition. I think it’s the mental part that stops people from eating innards like a kidney (It’s GROSS!). I don’t find it gross, so, it’s really subjective!
In this post, I’m sharing how to clean, prepare, store, and cook pig’s kidney.
HOW TO PICK FRESH KIDNEY?
Pig’s kidneys are usually sold in whole fresh in Asian grocery stores. Their shelf-life is not long in a fresh form as you can imagine. Pick the freshest one you can. There’s usually someone at the store I go to that will weigh the kidneys and pack them up for me. So I ask him if they are fresh. You can look at the color too. It is usually brownish-gray in color, but if you see that it’s dark or turning black or the whole appearance is just dull, skip it!
IS IT DIFFICULT TO CLEAN AND PREPARE KIDNEY?
It’s not difficult. In fact, it’s pretty straightforward, but it can be time-consuming if you have never done it before, to be honest with you. Feel free to watch the video. Once you cut off the parts that need to be removed from the kidneys, you need to soak them in salted water or milk to ensure that the kidneys will not smell “funky” (urine smell) when you cook them.
HOW TO CLEAN AND PREPARE PIG’S KIDNEYS FOR COOKING
1. Rinse the kidney with water. Put on gloves if you choose to
2. Cut off any parts that connected to the kidney
3. You might still see some of the membranes covering the kidney, gently pull on that and remove it
4. Use a sharp knife to cut the kidney into half lengthwise
5. You will see all the fats and veins. All those need to be removed. You can first use kitchen shears to cut off the vein or you can skip this part and just use a small sharp knife to cut off the vein and remove the fat. It’s important to remove all of those to prevent odor when you cook the kidney
6. Once it’s cleaned, cut the kidney into 3-4 inch slices
7. Use a small knife to score the surface of the kidney with criss-cross patterns, taking care not to cut through it
8. Place the cleaned kidney slices in a bowl of cold water with 1 tsp of salt or use a milk (without salt), enough to cover the kidney and let them sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight if you can
9. Drain off the soaking liquid and rinse the kidney with fresh water. The kidney is pretty much ready to be cooked at this point
10. Bring water to a rolling boil
11. Cook them for about 30 seconds (depending on how big of a slice), they should be gray in color on the outside, but not fully cooked. This step is to get rid of the blood scums in your cooking. Do not overcook them or they will turn tough
12. They are ready to be used in stir-fry or in soup recipes
CAN I USE THE SAME METHOD TO CLEAN OTHER ANIMALS’ KIDNEYS?
I’m not a nephrologist, but, Yes, kidney pretty much has the same function to most living organisms, to filter waste and blood and so the anatomy shouldn’t differ much.
How to Clean and Prepare Pig's Kidney for Cooking
- Whole pig's kidney
Soaking liquid (use either one):
Equipments to do the job:
- Sharp knife
- Kitchen shears
Cleaning the kidney:
- Rinse the kidney with water. Put on gloves if you choose to. Cut off any parts that connected to the kidney. You might still see some of the membranes covering the kidney, gently pull on that and remove it
- Use a sharp knife to cut the kidney into half lengthwise. You will see all the whitish fats and veins. All those need to be removed. Use a sharp knife to slice off those fats and veins. Use kitchen shears to cut off some stubborn fats. It's important to remove all the white part to prevent odor when you cook the kidney
Preparing the kidney:
- Use a small knife to score the smooth surface of the kidney with criss-cross patterns, taking care not to cut through it. Cut into medium to large slices for cooking
Soak the kidney in saltwater or in milk:
- Place these in a bowl of cold water with 1 tsp of salt, enough to cover the kidney and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight if you can
- You can also pour cold milk (without salt), enough to cover and soak the kidneys. Soak for at least 2 hours or overnight if you can
- If you plan to soak overnight, change the saltwater or milk before you head to bed for best result
- Drain off the soaking liquid and rinse the kidney with fresh water. The kidney is pretty much ready to be used at this point
Parboiled the kidney:
- Bring water to a rolling boil and then cook them for about 30 seconds (depending on how big of a slice), they should be gray in color but not fully cooked. This step is to get rid of the blood scums in your cooking. Do not overcook them or they will turn tough
If you choose to store them:
- Freeze the parboiled kidney once they cooled down if you do not plan to use them right away. They can be kept frozen for up to 1 month for best result
I love kidney! I cook it mainly with minced beef or lamb adding onions and stock.
Me too! Great idea with minced beef or lamb!!! I would try that next time!
I’d wanna to try kidney because my own isn’t good at mine 32y. Hope it will help. But seems my first try of cooking will be fail apart, because I didn’t cut fats before cutting on pieces.
The most important part is not to overcook kidney because the texture turns rubbery!
I was at a Thai restaurant once that had pig kidney on the menu. I ordered it. The waiter said “are you sure? Most white people don’t like it.” Not to be shown up, I said “yeah, I eat anything.” He was right. It was one of the most disgusting things I ever ate in my life. I guess I’m in the 99.9% 🙂
ha..ha..I don’t blame you! It’s either you like it or you don’t 🙂 I know many Asians that don’t like to eat kidneys too (my brother included LOL).
Kidney is good for you and 3 pork kidneys were $0.93 at my favorite butcher shop, so wish me luck
Hi Paul, that’s true! cheap protein. Good luck 🙂
I LOVE kidneys too! My mom always stir fried it for me, it’s so good! Unfortunately my little sister didn’t grow up eating it so she’s not too fond of it lol.
Hi May, I’m glad I’m not the only one ha..ha..! This is something that you either like or you don’t 🙂
Thank you for the pigs’ kidneys’ recipe, I tried it and it was the first time for me to eat pig’s kidneys. I did not know that they were edible until I came across your recipe. I enjoyed them and I must say, the cherry on top is that I found them to be very affordable. Thank you!
Hi Sue, I’m glad your first time turned out to be a pleasant one for you 🙂 The thought of eating kidney is not something that anyone would want to even think about LOL! I’m glad you give it a try and you like! and yes…they are so affordable because the demand is low 🙂
Do you know of anything that can be done with the blood from the kidneys? Can it be cooked and consumed, or fed to dogs perhaps?
Thank you for sharing this article!
Hmm…the blood from the kidneys are usually discarded, at least that’s what my mom does. It’s not usually consumed. Though in Asia, they do make blood cake (blood jelly) from the pig, but not the kidney’s blood though. Sorry that I don’t have enough information to answer your question whether it can be consumed or fed to dogs.
Thank you for posting this. I grew up in Singapore in the 80s and 90s (mum was Malaysian Chinese) and she used to cook stir fried pork kidneys once in a while. It was hands down my favourite food, but whenever she cooked it, there was never enough for me. I am now living in UK and never seen pork kidneys sold in any major supermarkets but I will try the Asian supermarket and maybe even the local butchers and see if I can get any. My daughter is studying for her Biology IGCSE exam in 2 days and revising the function of kidneys in our bodies, which triggered my memories of this delectable food, which I haven’t eaten in about 17 to 20 years.
Oh I know exactly what you mean. I haven’t eaten it myself for probably at least 10 years until I dared myself to clean them 🙂 I couldn’t have enough of kidneys when my mom cooks them. I don’t always see pig’s kidney in Asian grocery store too. But you definitely have much better luck finding it there.