Saturday, September 10, 2011
Lor Bak (Braised Pork)
I love Lor Bak. I love the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the meat, I love the fragrant and delicious braising liquid smothered over my rice, I love the accompaniments to the dish like the semi-solid garlic cloves, eggs and sometimes tau kwa and tau pok.
Damn I just love to eat.
I've made this a couple of times and each time I'm learning more and more about it's preparation then the previous attempt. And each time I feel that it's getting better and better and better. I can't wait to make this again and hopefully one day, attain the level of yum that is conjured by my grandma. In fact, I'm gonna spend more time in my grandma's kitchen and pick up her mad awesome cooking skills!
The magical ingredients!
Grandma's Braised Pork
500g of pork belly. I used a loin portion which has less fat and more meat. But if you can, use pure unadulterated pork belly. =D
3 tablespoon dary soy sauce
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of oil (I used vegetable oil.)
12 white peppercorn (more is fine.. I bumped it up to 1 tablespoon after taking this photo)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
11 cloves of garlic (but the more the merrier, really!)
Hard boiled eggs if desired. I tossed in a couple 15minutes before serving so that it absorbs the color.
1) Marinate the pork in the soy sauces and 5 spice powder for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best!
2) Start cooking approximately 2 hours before serving this dish.
3) Heat the braising pan on medium high heat.
4) Fry the dry spices without adding any oil to let the oils of the spices come out, for about 2minutes.
5) Add the oil in and let the oil heat up, about a minute
6) Add the brown sugar and fry until it has dissolved, about a minute
7) Put in the pieces of pork and fry them until the sides have browned, about 3 minutes. Then, flip the pork around and brown the other side, another 3 minutes.
8)Once the pork has browned, add enough water to barely cover the top if you have to. I didn't have to as my pork released a fair amount of water.
9) Toss in the garlic, unpeeled and turn the heat to low and cover the pot.
10) Let it simmer in the liquid (braising!) for a good 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally (like every 15minutes?) to ensure that it doesn't burn and to ensure even braising of both sides of the meat. Also, top up the water until the water level in the pot BARELY covers the surface of the pork when required to ensure enough braising action goes on.
11) Meat is done in half an hour if in a hurry but will become AWESOME in an hour or more. ;)
Cutting the pork before serving and licking my fingers behind the lens
So so so yummy. Especially for a student studying overseas, this dish is relatively no fuss, recreates home tastes, and is absolutely comforting. It doesn't take much effort at all and the lingering fragrance really is reminiscent. Ahhhh..
Sliced lor bak with egg on a bowl of rice. AWESOME, especially with the gravy.
Pressure points and top tips! (from trial and error) =D
1) It's braising, not boiling. Don't pour too much water. Boiling seals in the flavors.
2) Don't over spice. More is not better for spices.
3) I used 2 tablespoon of soy sauce and found that it was sufficiently salty. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce at the end.
4) Do not waste any of that awesome braising liquid goodness. You WILL be punished in some tiny way or another.
Oh no... I'm drooling again. T_T