For the longest time I had difficulty getting the caramel in this recipe down. Some bloggers / cookbooks suggest using rock sugar instead of cane sugar but I didn’t think there should be such a difference. My mom uses brown sugar and doesn’t bother to make a caramel at all. Buro finally nailed the caramel creation–adding the oil is critical for keeping the sugar from going straight from caramel to rock solid.
If you mess up making the caramel, just start over. You’re at the beginning and sugar is cheaper than pork.
For each one-pound of meat, such as pork belly or hock:
Blanche pork into boiling water for a few minutes
- With a wok on a medium(-ish) flame, stir 2 tbsp sugar in 2 tbsp of canola oil until sugar melts into a caramel liquid
- Add to caramel:
- Stock to cover meat
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- Light soy sauce to taste
- 1 star anise, 2 dried red chilis, 3/4-inch ginger, small piece cassia bark
- Add meat and adjust stock as necessary
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until meat is cooked tender
- Reduce the sauce