I once cooked this dish for a dinner party and it was a huge hit. The problem is that I have been racking my brains as to how it did it! I have been experimenting and I think I have just about mastered it again. Brilliant with sticky rice and perhaps a few stir-fried veggies, this pork dish can be thrown together on the cheap and I promise it will feel like you’ve just eaten in a 5* Chinese restaurant. Sticky, sweet, salty, spicy and sour.
Cooking 3–4 hours
2kg pork shoulder, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons Chinese five spice or (1½ teaspoons ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1½ teaspoons ground coriander)
2 star anise
½ teaspoon chilli flakes or 1 large red chilli, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2.cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons tomato purée
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
200ml dark soy sauce
3 red peppers, 2.5cm pieces
1 red chilli, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 130ºC. Place a large casserole dish on a high heat. Pour in the oil and add in the pork and seal for 5–6 minutes before adding the Chinese five spice (or spices) star anise, chilli flakes, chopped garlic and ginger. Cook the spices with the pork for a few minutes before adding the tomato purée, brown sugar, stock and soy sauce. Bring to the boil, place a lid on the dish and place into the oven for 3 hours. Check that the stew isn’t drying out as it cooks. If it is, add a little more stock.
2. After 3 hours add the peppers and cook for another 30 minutes. Once the pork is tender and falling apart, remove the casserole pan from the oven, sprinkle the stew with fresh red chillies, sliced spring onions and serve with sticky rice.
TOP TIP This dish tastes better the next day!