Slow-cooked pork belly stew in Phuket style (Moo Hong)

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Slow-cooking does not only soften the texture of the pork belly, but also lets the delicious sauce penetrate into it. This stew is popular in Koh Phuket.

Moo Hong, slow-cooked pork belly stew, was brought to Phuket and nearby areas like Penang, Singapore, as well as Myanmar by the Hokkiens, who had migrated to here in the past. Similar to Chinese cooking technique, in making stews, it always starts with deep-frying meats to just firm them before simmering with herbs and spices for a long time. This makes the meats really tender, and the sauce also penetrates well into the meats.

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Ingredients

  • 800 g large pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 garlic bulb, split into cloves and peeled
  • 5 coriander roots (or their stems near the root ends), roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • water
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark-sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 star anises
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broke into two pieces
  • Oil, for deep-frying
  • Chopped coriander leaves, for garnishing

Method

  1. Heat the oil (with quantity enough for deep-frying the pork belly) in a wok or deep-frying pan over a medium heat. Once it is hot, add the pork belly and fry until just firm. Lift it out with a slotted spoon and place on a rack to drain. Turn off the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, pound the black pepper, garlic and coriander roots together with a mortar and a pestle until ground. Add sugar and then pound to combine well a mixture. Set aside.
  3. Remove the oil out from the wok, return to the medium heat, add two tablespoons of the vegetable oil and wait until hot. Once ready, add the mixture (from step No. 2) and fry (keep stirring continuously) until fragrant, or lightly golden-brown.
  4. Add the deep-fried pork belly (from step No. 1) and fry to coat well with the mixture. Add water to just cover the pork belly and then bring to a boil. Season to taste with the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark-sweet soy sauce and salt and then adds the star anises and cinnamon sticks. Turn the heat down to a minimum (with just a few bubbles) and then cook for at least one hour (occasionally add a little more water if necessary), or until tender and penetrated well with the sauce.
  5. To serve, spoon the pork belly stew into serving bowls. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves for garnishing.
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