Ok it isn’t, i lied.
However this is exactly what i exclaimed when i put my first chopstick laden portion into my gaping maw and the smooth, sweet and sour broth, soft, creamy belly fat and flakey pork meat hit my tongue. This is another store cupboard staple recipie you will be pleased to hear, i am sure the “cook from scratch” brigade will have almost everything needed in the pantry but if not, chinese ingredients these days are easy to find and cheap to buy so stock up.
I am not going to sit and claim this is authentic, i hadn’t even heard of it until the recipe was enthusiastically sent to me via twitter this morning after i pleaded for recipes for belly pork that didn’t mean i had to whip up another batch of BBQ sauce as lovely as it is, its what i always do and no one likes a cooking rut. I tend to go through food like a new favourite song, i will do it over and over and over till i am sick to death of it. I don’t ever want to be sick to death of pork.
The dish will take up to 3 hours to cook properly, its so quick you can chuck all on the minute you are home from work and just have a late supper or save it for an easy weekend dinner.
You will need
1 1/4 lb (500g) boneless pork belly, with skin, or shoulder
2 tbsp cooking oil
4 slices of unpeeled ginger
1 spring onion, white part only, crushed slightly
1 chopped chilli
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 cups plus 2 tbsp (500ml) chicken stock or water, plus more if needed
1 star anise
Small piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
Dash of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
Salt, to taste
A few lengths of spring onion greens, to garnish
Heat up a thick pan (make sure it has a lid, i used my cast iron tagine) and add the oil, ginger, chilli and spring onion. Fry it gently till you can smell them wafting out of the pan and up your nose. Add you pork and stir fry it, don’t let it stick to the pan (it will) until it is sealed on all sides. Next chuck in your wine (i used rice wine, sherry is just as good or if you are really stuck use a wine or cyder vinegar) your stock, cinnamon, star anise, soy and sugar and give it a good stir. Add a little salt and bring to the boil.
Once boiling take it down to a low simmer and leave it for anything from 1 to 3 hours. The longer the better. Add some more chopped spring onions at the end, fresh and crunchy!
I served with a handful of beansprouts chucked int 5 mins before serving over a bed of noodles, you can serve it with whatever you like or as part of a help yourself banquet.