Time is a gift that many of us forget about. In this recipe, the shopping list maybe long, however the rest is so so simple. The only crucial part is time and patience.
All ingredients are put together in a saucepan and left to create an incredible tasting pork with tender, falling apart meat and an intensely rich and complex sauce.
1 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)*
½ cup black Chinese vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ firmly packed cup brown sugar
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 whole garlic bulb
1 onion, halved
2 whole star anise
6 whole dried chillies
1 ½ kilo boneless pork belly
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve
¼ cup white vinegar, to serve
2 tablespoons chilli sauce, to serve
steamed white rice, to serve
black sesame seeds, to garnish
Combine the soy, shaoxing, vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar and aromatics in a large saucepan with 2 litres of water, stir to combine.
Submerge the pork belly in the liquid (adding more water if the pork belly is not covered). Place over a low heat and cover.
Cook for 3-4 hours, until the pork is tender and falling apart (check every so often, the poaching liquid should remain at a gentle simmer).
Turn off the heat and carefully remove the pork. Set aside loosely covered. Strain 500ml of the poaching liquid into a clean saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduce by half.
Serve the pork, sliced on a bed of rice, with a small dish of vinegar, spring onions and chilli on the side. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and spoon over reduced poaching liquid.
* Chinese cooking wine available from selected Asian grocers. Substitute with sherry.