Amidst the self isolation period to fence off(?) the Corona virus, I got so bored at home that this blog is coming back to live again.
First thing first, i am doing fine in Japan. My team had been working from home for 2 weeks now and the company let us expense to a reasonable level the appliances needed to set up a home office. My home office is looking better and comfier than my actual office now!
Due to my very demanding job since i got back to Tokyo, i had not been able to cook as much or make complicated dishes as i did in Mexico or Shizuoka before that. Another reason of simple cooking was i have been working on losing weight and get my body back to healthy state after a very shocking health check result in 2018.
So today to save myself from turning into a malfunctioning mushroom in isolation, i decided to cook something nice. I have a nice piece of fatty pork belly to work with and after much thinking i made Taiwanese Braised Pork with the fattest portion of it. Yum yum. My friends used to say my place is the place to be during disaster, well they may be onto something as i have all the support ingredients, spices in my house ready…to pull off spontaneous cooking.
Each family have their own take on this iconic dish from Taiwan, and my ingredients are as following:
- Pork belly – cut small
- Dried shitake – soak in hot water then diced
- Dried shrimp – soak in hot water
- Fried red onion flake
- Salt & Pepper
- Chinese 5 spices powder
- Garlic cloves
- Fennel seeds
- Caramel sugar
- Soy sauce
- Cooking rice wine (Japanese sake..)
The crucial step to success for this dish is a process called “煸” in Chinese. Basically it is to stir fry some ingredients and spices to draw out the fragrance. I started with the pork belly on medium heat to draw out the lard then slowly add in dried shrimp, shitake, garlic, chili and fennel seeds. Then its the caramelize step using sugar and soy sauce to create appetizing color and layered taste. Rice wine was then added, boil off for a while before water was added. The pot was then simmered for 30~40 mins to let all the taste combine….later salt and pepper was added to finally bring everything together.
I can’t wait to pour this over fluffy hot rice!!!