• Asian-style caramel pork (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

Sweet, sticky and tender, this caramel pork is very, very addictive. 






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  • 1 ½ tbsp sunflower, rice bran or vegetable oil
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork belly or pork slices, cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, seeds removed (see tip), finely chopped
  • 6 French shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50 g (1¾ oz/1 bunch) coriander (cilantro), stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved for garnishing
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/1⁄3 cup) light soy sauce
  • 180 g (6½ oz/1 cup) shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • steamed white rice, to serve
  • steamed greens, to serve
  • lime wedges (optional), to serve

Cook's notes

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.


1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a wok until hot. In three batches, brown the pork over high heat, removing each batch to a plate. Drain the pork fat from the wok.

2. Add the remaining oil to the wok, along with the chilli, shallot, garlic and the coriander stalks. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.

3. Return the pork to the wok. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick and 375 ml (12½ fl oz/1½ cups) water. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 1½ hours.

4. Remove the lid and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is syrupy. Stir in the fish sauce.

5. Garnish with the coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice and greens, with lime wedges for squeezing over.


• Leave the seeds in the chillies if you like more heat.


This recipe is from Low & Slow (Smith Street Books).