BY ANDREW Z. GALARNEAU
Here's a relatively simple recipe from "Have You Eaten?," featured in today's Buffalo News. Billy Law grew up in Malaysia, a home cooking recipe straight out of his mother's kitchen. Law, an Australian food blogger at A Table for Two and contestant on "MasterChef: Australia," calls it "my favorite dish of all time," one he asks for every time he comes home.
Mum’s Vinegar-Braised Pork Belly and Eggs
2 litres (68 fl oz/8 cups) water
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork spare ribs, chopped into 2.5–5 cm (1–2 inch) pieces (see note)
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork belly, skin off, cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) cubes
5 cm (2 inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic bulb
10 star anise
5 dried chillies (optional)
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons dark soy caramel, or dark soy sauce
100 ml (3½ fl oz) light soy sauce
220 g (7¾ oz/1 cup) sugar
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
(extra for the egg lovers)
1. Pour the water into a large non-stainless steel pot (such as a large Chinese claypot or enamelled cast-iron casserole dish), and bring to the boil over medium–high heat.
2. Add the pork ribs and pork belly to the boiling water, then add the ginger slices, the whole garlic bulb, star anise and chillies (if using), and bring back to the boil. Scoop out all the impurities floating on the surface.
3. Turn the heat down to a simmer, then add the vinegar, dark soy caramel, light soy sauce and sugar. Give it all a stir until the sugar has dissolved, then add the hard-boiled eggs. Braise the pork for at least 2 hours, or until the pork is meltingly tender, stirring occasionally.
4. When the sauce starts to thicken, have a taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. If it is too sour or too salty, add a little more sugar. If it is too sweet, add more light soy sauce. Do not add more water unless it dries out too quickly. Serve hot with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice.
Note: You can usually buy pork spare ribs in major supermarkets. You might have to call a few butcher shops to find pork belly, and it's available in Asian markets. If possible, ask your butcher to cut up a whole piece of pork belly with bones left in.
Source: (c) Have You Eaten? By Billy Law, Hardie Grant, 2013.