I love Asian stews with brown sauces. Even before tasting them, I know that they will have the characteristic taste of soy sauce. In the Philippines, we are rather reserved with the addition of aromatics. In other Asian countries, however, there is a pleasant surprising twist in a lot of dishes.
This recipe is a fusion of two dishes: a Vietnamese pork dish (Thit Lo'n Rim) flavoured with lemon grass and cinnamon and a sweet Thai pork dish (Moo Wan) with palm sugar. Mildly aromatic and sweet, it goes very well with steamed rice. Dishes like these are very well favoured in Southeast Asia and there's bound to be a similar dish in every country.
My husband always likes boiled eggs in dishes with sauces so I serve them on the side here. After peeling, they are briefly steeped in the sauce before serving to make the egg whites absorb some flavour and colour. A simple vegetable dish and freshly steamed, piping hot rice will complete the meal.
500 gms. of pork belly slices, sliced into 3cm. long pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoons of grated ginger
2 sticks of lemon grass, cut into two and smashed
1 cinnamon stick
1 red finger chilli, sliced crosswise
1 c. water
3 tbsps. brown sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Stir fry the garlic, onion, chilli and ginger until the onion is softened. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon grass and pork pieces. Season with soy sauce, fish sauce and black pepper and stir fry on high heat to seal and brown the pork.
Add a cup of water and the brown sugar and simmer on low heat, covered, until tender (about an hour). You may add a bit more water if it gets too dry. Add water little by little and pour around the pork (not on top), so you don't wash off the caramelized sauce sticking to it. Transfer to a serving dish.
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