This is the signature dish of the Nyonya communities. It is cooked using very simple ingredients and is slightly sweet, with a hint of saltiness from the fermented salted beans. Some families add pieces of cabbage to this dish as well.
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 800 g pork belly
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 50 g garlic, finely chopped
- 35 g fermented soya bean paste
- 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp thick dark soy sauce
- 35 g palm sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 waxy potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
- 1 long red chilli, split, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Add enough water to shiitake mushrooms to cover. Soak overnight. Strain and reserve soaking water.
Cut pork belly into pieces, about 5 cm square. Add pork to a large pot of boiling water to blanch, then strain. Discard water.
Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over a low heat. Add onion and stir-fry until translucent. Add garlic and continue to stir-fry until a light golden colour. Add fermented soya bean paste and stir-fry until aromatic and slightly dry. Reduce heat to very low.
Add pork, and light and dark soy sauces to wok and stir-fry for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, reserved soaking water, palm sugar, salt and potato. Top up with enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat, adding more water when necessary, for at least 2 hours or until pork is tender but still has some texture. Check seasoning and add more salt if desired. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with chilli and serve.