In a soup pot or large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrot and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger and cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the ham hocks and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until hocks are beginning to get tender. Add the peas and black pepper and continue to simmer for 2 hours. Remove the ham hocks and set aside to cool slightly. Puree the soup in a blender, working in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the pot and keep warm until ready to serve. If the soup seems too thick, thin with a bit of water. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
When the salt pork is cool enough to handle, remove any visible fat or gristle and discard. Shred the meat and garnish each serving with some of the meat.
*Be careful not to salt the soup too soon; because ham hocks are salty, the soup may not need any added salt.
Yield: about 2 quarts, 6 to 8 servings