The truth is, this pork shoulder might be the best Asian braised dish I've ever done. Now it's time for you to give it a try.
- 3.5 lbs of pork shoulder (preferably bone-in, skin-on)
- 7 cups of water
- 2 cups of soy sauce
- 3/4 cup of aged Shao Hsing wine
- 1/4 cup of crystal sugar
- 10 garlic cloves
- 5 ginger slices
- 2 stalks of scallion
- 2 red chilies
- 2 star anise
- Some corn starch
- Some bak choy (optional)
- Hard boiled eggs (optional)
Prepare a big pot of water, add in 3 slices of ginger and 1 stalk of scallion. Turn to medium high heat and add in the pork shoulder when the temperature rises, but not boiling yet. Once the pork is in the pot, bring the water to a full boil so the dirty foamy bits start to surface.
Drain out the water and rinse the pork to wash away any remaining dirty bits.
Make sure to use a pot that is big enough to hold up the pork shoulder as a whole and lots of liquid. Add in 10 peeled garlic cloves, 2 chilies, 2 star anise, 2 ginger slices, 1 stalk of scallion, 7 cups of water, 2 cups of soy sauce, 3/4 cup of aged Shao Hsing wine, and the pork shoulder into the pot. Make sure the pork is completely submerged under the liquid.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep it simmer, or just slightly bubbling for 5 hours. Yes you heard me right, 5 straight hours. Make sure to skim off any grayish foamy bits flowing on the top for the initial one to two hours. You'll see a lot of it when you first bring the pot to a boil.
If you're adding hard boiled eggs. Removed the shells and add the eggs to the mixture about half way through.
Add some crystal sugar towards the end. Do not substitute with other types of sugar. The chunky semi-clear colored crystal sugar does balance off the saltiness of the dish. However, this type of sugar also adds a slight sheen to the meat, making it even more luscious and alluring.
Turn off the heat after hours of braising. Wait till the pot cools down to room temperature, cover with lid, and store overnight in the fridge.
Just heat up the whole pot using medium low heat before serving. I moved the pork shoulder into a clay pot after heating it up. In addition, I also scooped out some sauce to a smaller pot and turn up the heat a bit to reduce it. Depending on how thick you'd like the sauce to be, for a "sticker" and slightly gravy-like texture, add some corn starch/water mixture into the sauce while heating up and stirring at the same time. Add a little bit at a time till the sauce reached desired consistency. Drizzle this condensed sauce all over the pork shoulder.
On the side note, the blanched bak choy is just there so I won't feel as guilty devouring this gigantic chunk of meat.
Make sure to save the remaining sauce, which can be a perfect base for noodles. It can also serve as a stew base for your next batch of ingredients, kind of like the old dough used in fresh dough for bread and pizza.
Stay tuned. The next post will showcase how I utilize the leftover sauce for another all time favorite Chinese dish.
Other Chinese braised/stewed recipe:
Taiwanese style stewed pig's feet - 滷豬腳
No fuss onion and black pepper beef stew
My version of langue de boeuf à la bourguignonne