This is probably one of my favourite far-eastern supper dishes. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, it’s all available from most supermarkets these days and the cooking method is very simple – prep and then braise in the oven for a couple of hours. The mix of hot, sweet, sour and savoury in the sticky sauce is just delicious with the melt-in-the-mouth chunks of pork and the crisp topping of shallots and spring onions. I serve it with plain jasmine rice and fresh pineapple relish. Lightly stir-fried pak choi works well as a side-dish if you want to serve some extra greens with it. It’s a great Saturday night sharing dish with friends and family.
- 2tbsp light olive oil
- 100g finely sliced shallots
- 50g garlic, crushed
- 25g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1.25kg lean pork shoulder cut into 3cm chunks
- 4 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian soy sauce – you can find it in most supermarkets – I buy it from Sainsbury’s)
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp tamarind water (10g tamarind pulp soaked in 3 tbsp hot water) or from a ready-made jar
- 1/2 tsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- 3 medium fresh chillies, seeded and chopped
- 500ml chicken stock
- To garnish: 2 shallots, sliced and fried until crisp in a little oil and some finely sliced fresh spring onions
- Pineapple relish: a small ripe pineapple – peeled and cut into 1cm pieces, small red onion – thinly sliced, a handful of fresh coriander, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp each of sugar and salt. Mix everything together thoroughly in a bowl and leave to infuse for an hour before serving.
- Jasmine or basmati rice to serve
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron pot. Add the shallots and fry until soft and then add the ginger, garlic a good pinch of salt and cook through for a minute.
- Add the pork pieces and colour lightly. Stir in the kecap manis, soy, tamarind, chilli and stock. Bring to a simmer and then braise in the oven for a couple of hours until the pork is very tender.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork from the sauce and put it aside on a warm plate. Place the pot on the hob and boil the sauce rapidly until it’s thick and sticky. Check for seasoning, add the pork back in and stir.
- When you’re ready to eat, serve it in a warmed dish and scatter with the crispy shallots and spring onion.
- Serve with rice and the pineapple salad.
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