Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lo Bak (Soy Sauce Braised Pork) 滷肉

There is one dish that is never missing when eating Teochew porridge - Soy Sauce Braised Duck, and/or Soy Sauce Braised Pork Belly. It is always there, because the soy sauce gravy compliments the plain Teochew porridge so perfectly with its depth of flavor from the five spice herbs.

Back home, both my grandmothers (both are Teochews) make the best soy sauce braised ducks, chickens and pork bellies. I prefer duck to pork belly, and will settle for chicken as a last resort, but in general, I will eat soy sauce braised anything. Ducks are larger birds than chickens, and to braise it, one would have to stand for hours just basting the duck non-stop. I obviously don't have the time or patience for that, nor do I have a pot large enough for a duck. Whole ducks are also uncommon and really expensive, so I'll have to settle for a lesser protein today, although I would really love to have some duck.

Well, after duck, my second choice for protein would be pork belly. Pork belly sounds fatty, but really, it is just as bad as most cheeses, or worse. Asians eat pork belly frequently, and I guess it is just as similar as people having bacon for breakfast. Unfortunately again, cured pork belly (because there is a ton of bacon around) is not sold at my local supermarket, so we're going to stick with the healthier pork sirloin cut today - meh not quite a fan.

After eating, I now thing the best part of the dish is the braised eggs. Go ahead and not make it an optional ingredient!

  • 2 lb pork (belly is preferred but whatever is fine), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Chinese soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons five spice powder
  • 6 - 8 cloves garlic, bruised
  • ~ 10 slices ginger
  • hard-boiled eggs [optional]
  • tofu [optional]
  • tofu puffs [optional]

  • Add all ingredients to a large pot (except optional ingredients), and mix the everything until evenly combined.
  • Turn the heat on high, and cook until the pork is cooked.
  • Turn the heat to simmer, and add the optional ingredients (I added eggs and tofu puffs).
  • At this point, the dish is ready to be eaten, but the longer it stays in the pot, the better it gets.

    Story sidetrack: It is a widely known fact that many restaurants re-use the soy sauce used for braising, adding water, more soy sauce and other ingredients to the old sauce when needed. Some restaurants have used the same sauce for decades, and have not changed the sauce in the pot since the restaurant first opened. It seems so disgusting, but you'll definitely the difference between a day-old braising sauce and one that has been kept slightly longer. I am too lazy to boil and reboil stuff, so my sauce will only be with me in the fridge for 2-3 days, if it even lasts that long.

Left: Eggs just added!  |  Right: 2 and a half hours and going...

Like I said before, best with porridge!

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