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Recipe: Phuket pork belly stew

The key with this dish is to simmer the pork belly until it is fall-apart tender

Pork belly is one of my all-time favourite cuts of meat, says Dan Toombs: when cooked right, it is wonderfully tender and juicy. The key with this dish is to simmer the pork belly until it is fall-apart tender; otherwise it will be chewy and a bit of a let-down. The long simmering time also adds to the amazing flavour. This dish is great served with jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6

  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 10 coriander stalks
  • 1 generous tbsp of black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1kg pork belly, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 5cm piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce*
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce*
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce* (*many soy and oyster sauces contain gluten, but there are gluten-free brands available)
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 6 tbsp finely chopped coriander

Method

  • Put the garlic, coriander stalks and black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, toss in the pork belly cubes and brown on all sides. This should take about 5 minutes, but you might need to do this in batches. Transfer the browned meat to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the cinnamon stick and star anise to the remaining oil in the pan and let the spices infuse into the oil for about 30 seconds. Return the meat to the pan and add the sugar, soy sauces and the oyster sauce.
  • Stir well until the sugar dissolves and then add the Chinese rice wine, the prepared paste and just enough water to cover the meat.
  • Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the pork is fall-apart tender. You might need to top up with a little water from time to time.
  • When the pork is ready, taste and adjust the flavours as necessary, then stir in the chopped coriander and serve.
The Curry Guy Thai by Dan Toombs

Taken from The Curry Guy Thai by Dan Toombs, published by Quadrille at £15. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £11.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit theweekbookshop.co.uk.

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