Although I like old fashioned recipes, I am still a fan of modern conveniences. My trusty kitchen gadgets are my best friends and they enable me to still cook a lot of good home cooked meals even when I'm pressed for time. I bought a whole hand of pork at the market today and I decided to stew it in the pressure cooker. It took a mere forty minutes to tenderize the meat which would otherwise probably take over two hours in a conventional pot. The best way to have it is really falling-apart tender : the meat falls off the bone on its own accord. By then the skin and tendons has become all wobbly and gelatinous and have developed a very intense flavour. The tender, tasty meat and its syrupy sweet sauce goes so well with steamed rice or steamed plain buns.
1 whole hand of pork (cut at the joint) or two pork shanks
1/2 c. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. dark soy sauce
1/4 c. shaosing wine or dry sherry
1/4 c. + 2 tbsps. of brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, cracked
3 segments of star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 small bay leaf
1 tsp. whole Szechuan peppercorns
rind of 1 tangerine
juice of two tangerines
Clean the pork very well. Make sure the skin is hair free. Trim off excess fat. Cut deep horizontal gashes on the skin and right through the meat so that the seasonings will penetrate inside the joint.
Put it in a pressure cooker or deep pot. Add all the rest of the ingredients (except for the 1/4 c. of brown sugar) and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Put the lid on the cooker or pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes in the pressure cooker (about two hours in an ordinary pot) or until very, very tender. When done , take the meat out of the sauce.
Strain the sauce. Caramelize the 1/4 c. of brown sugar in a pan. Add the pork meat to the caramelized sugar, turn occasionally and let it take on a uniform deep brown color. Add the sauce, turn the heat up and let the sauce reduce until syrupy. Check the seasonings. This is now ready to serve with steamed rice or steamed bread buns.
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