Braised pork belly with Chinese mushrooms

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This hearty dish is steaming with flavour from its herbs and spices 

This hearty dish is steaming with flavour from its herbs and spices 

Serves 4

  • 25g (1oz) whole dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small bunch of spring onions
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 piece of cassia bark (from Asian supermarkets or online)

  • 800g (1lb 12oz) pork belly (ideally a 5-layered cut – skin/fat/meat/fat/meat), cut into cubes
  • 3tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (from supermarkets)
  • 3tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2tbsp caster sugar

Soak the mushrooms in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Chop all the spring onions into 4cm lengths except one. Finely slice this last one to garnish.

Heat the oil gently in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the lengths of spring onion with the ginger, garlic, star anise and cassia bark for 3-4 minutes, or until it smells great.

Add the pork and cook until it starts to brown. You can do this in batches if your pan is a bit small. Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, the rice wine, soy sauces and sugar, and enough water to cover the pork. Cover the pan and gently simmer for 1½-2 hours, or until the pork is really tender and falling apart.

Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook uncovered over a high heat for 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce so it becomes thick and syrupy.

Adjust the seasoning to taste, scatter with the sliced spring onion and serve with steamed rice.

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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