Another example of those typical home-cooked Chinese dishes which doesn’t look all that appetising, but tastes absolutely delicious! It’s a perennial family favourite and always goes down well on a cold and dreary late-winter evening.
The secret to this dish is you have to use fatty meat, ideally you want the pork belly, but if you can’t find this you can always use other cuts, as long as they have a fair amount of fat. The second secret to this dish is the combination of spices which gives the dish a very slight medicinal taste (I know that doesn’t sound too good, but when accompanied by the dark, sweet sauce, it’s to die for).
600g belly pork, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
3-4 whole peppercorns
1-2 star anise
2 inch stick of cinnamon bark
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6-8 tablespoons caramel soy sauce (I buy this from Singapore and I’m not sure if you can find it in the UK so alternatively use thick black soy sauce with a few tablespoons on sugar)
- On a high heat put the oil in a large pan and fry the garlic, peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon bark and cloves until fragrant.
- Add the pork to the pan and fry until cooked through.
- Add the soy sauce and stir well making sure that there is more than enough to coat the meat (you can always add more later to taste).
- Add the water to the pan, you may not need to use all as there should be quite a lot of liquid from the pork juice. Just add enough to submerge most of the meat. Remember, the more water you add the more diluted the taste will be so it’s a good idea to taste and check the colour (it should be a very dark brown colour) and add more soy sauce if needs be.
- Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Then leave to simmer on a medium-low heat for about 30mins or until the meat is tender.
- Boil the eggs in another pan until almost hard boiled and shell.
- When the meat is done, keep on a low heat and add the eggs, turning them over in the gravy until they take on the dark brown colour.
- Serve with stir fried vegetables and boiled rice.