- Cooking time: More than 1 hour
- Cuisine: Malaysian
- Serves: 8
- Type: Easy
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 6 cloves garlic, bruised
- 1 lb (500 g) pork belly, skin removed and discarded, cubed
- 1 lb (500 g) pork ribs or 10 oz (300 g) pork shoulder, sliced into pieces
- 3 star anise pods, roughly ground in a mortar
- Â½ teaspoon Sichuan pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chilli black bean sauce
- 2 tablespoons Samal Oelek Chili Paste (you should be able to find it at any decent supermarket or Asian grocery store), or other sweet chilli paste
- Â½ cup (125 ml) cup sweet caramelized soy sauce, or kecap manis
- 3 cups (730 ml) water
- 2 teaspoons shaved palm sugar or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (100 ml) sweet Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
- 8 dried black Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, drained and stir-fried in 2 teaspoons of oil for 2-3 minutes
- Salt, to taste
- Crispy Fried Garlic, to garnish
- Green onion curls (see note), to garnish
Sweet Cucumber Pickles
- Â½ cup (125 ml) vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
Crispy Fried Garlic
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- Prepare the Crispy Fried Garlic first by heating the oil in a skillet and sauteing the garlic over medium heat until golden and crispy, about 1 minute. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Alternatively, cover the garlic with 1 tablespoon of oil in a heatproof dish and microwave for another minute.
- Prepare the Sweet Cucumber Pickles by combining the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cucumber slices and mix well. Allow to marinate for 2 hours and drain the Pickles just before serving.
- Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the garlic over high heat until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add both types of pork, the star anise and Sichuan pepper (if using) and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the chili black bean sauce, Sambal Oelek and black soy sauce and toss well to coat the port with the sauce.
- Pour in the water and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer covered until the port is very tender, about 20-30 minutes. Season with the sugar, vinegar and rice wine, and stir in the mushrooms. Half cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, until the pork is tender and the sauce is thick but not completely dried up. Increase the heat to medium, season with salt to taste and stir-fry the pork to coat it evenly with the sauce. Remove from the heat.
- Transfer the pork to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the Crispy Fried Garlic. Garnish with green onion curls and serve immediately with steamed rice and the Sweet Cucumber Pickles on the side.
- To make green onion curls, trim off the bulb of each green onion at the point where the stem begins to turn green. Slice the leaves into 4-in (10-cm) lengths. Using a sharp knife, slice each length into very thin strips lengthwise. Soak the strips in a bowl of iced water and refrigerate until they curl up.