Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cooking without fumes

While I was flipping through my chiffon cake book, I found a newspaper cutting between the pages. It is a recipe which I had taken from a local Chinese newspaper several months back. I have totally forgotten that I had wanted to try this easy home cook dish when I first saw it.

After seeking my children's opinion, I gladly went ahead to prepare this dish...Braised Pork Belly with Hard Boiled Eggs, 卤蛋红烧肉.

This is not the first time I have tried to cook this dish, but my first attempt produced something that was just edible (^^') I didn't follow any recipe or rather there wasn't any good and easy recipe for me to follow. I added whatever ingredients, spices and seasoning according to my own whim and fancy. Naturally the food was just passable not because it tasted ok but rather I have kids who are very accommodating to my cooking ;)

This recipe is really simple even a lousy cook like me is able to put it together without much effort. The best thing is, there is no stir frying involved, making it a 'no-fume', hassle free home cooking meal. The original recipe only calls for pork belly and hard boiled eggs as the main ingredients. I have taken the liberty to add in tau kwa (firm bean curb) and tau pok (fried bean curb puff) to make it a hearty one pot meal to go with plain rice.

The one cooking tip that I have picked up from this newspaper article is that, the pork belly has to be cooked in a pot of boiling water for five minutes to get rid of the impurities (I usually place pork ribs in cold water and bring it to a boil to remove the impurities, rinse and then place in boiling water to prepare the soup). To prevent the meat from losing its juice, the water has to be boiling before the pork belly is added in. While the pork is cooking, the sauce is prepared in another pot and brought to a boil. When ready, the pork belly is then transferred to the pot of sauce. The important thing to note here is, the sauce has to be boiling before the pork belly is added, that is, from one hot pot to another. By doing so, the meat will cook faster and will be tender soft.

I was so proud of myself when the dish was ready :) It was even more satisfying to watch my kids savour every bit of the food. My younger son is never a fan of pork dishes, I was pleasantly surprised that he could finish all the meat I placed on his plate of rice. My elder son loves pork belly and I am sure he will keep asking for this dish.

After I was done taking pictures of the dish, I noticed the sun setting. I get to enjoy sunset every evening. It is impossible for me to miss it since I am someone who likes to pause every now and then to enjoy the beautiful nature, be it the sun, moon or tiny flowers on the road side. I have so many times stood at the window to watch the golden yolk disappear into the horizon. Do you know? It doesn't take too long for the sun to set, it is gone within a few minutes. I was not even fast enough to get decent shots, and this is the best my very old point-and-shoot camera could produce.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this little snapshot of my life...thank you for visiting.

Braised Pork Belly 家常卤蛋红烧肉

(serves 4)

300g pork belly
4 - 6 hard boiled eggs
2 tau kwa (firm tofu/bean curd), cut into big chunks
4 - 6 pieces tau pok (deep fried bean curd), cut into half

2 cups water
3 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon five spice powder (not included in original recipe)
some rock sugar (amount not stated in original recipe, I used about 30g, adjust according to taste)
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick (about 1.5" in length)
1 whole bulb of garlic, separated but not peeled

1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon hua tiao wine (Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Chiew)

  1. To cook hard boiled eggs, place eggs in a pot. Fill it with water enough to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil, continue to cook for about 10mins. Remove from pot and run eggs under cold water (to make it easy to remove the shells). Remove shells and set aside.
  2. Wash, clean and cut pork belly into big pieces. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add in the pork belly and let it boil for 5 mins.
  3. Place 2 cups of water in another pot. Add dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, oyster sauce, five spice power, rock sugar, star anise cinnamon stick and garlic. Bring to a boil.
  4. When ready, remove and drain the pork belly in step 2. Add to the pot in step 3 (make sure the sauce is already boiling). Add hard boiled eggs. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Add the tau kwa and tau pok. Let it simmer for another 10 mins. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat. Stir in hua tiao and serve the dish.
Recipe source: adapted from 联合早报(早报周刊)


Bakeling said...

This is my all year round favourite dish ! I love both the meat and the 卤蛋 !

Unknown said...

lovely dish..


Passionate About Baking said...

Gee, this loooks really yummy HHB! My mum makes this really well too! And my parents-in-law cook this often. So I'm a happy recipent of the good food, that I didn't bother to cook them myself! But reading through how the pork belly is being cooked, it's really another good technique to acquire! I'm sure this dish won't last long no matter how big a pot you made!
I totally agree with you that adding tau-pok and tau-kwa definitely taste good!

Anonymous said...

Wow!Thanks for the nice pix and recipe. This is a quick, delicious and all time favorite for both young and old! It'll be on my menu this week ;)..
Good day!

Small Small Baker said...


Unknown said...

I like this... I like this... It's so simple, hope when I make this dish, the result is as good as yours ^_^

Edith said...

This is my son's favorite dish! I hv to learn from you to take moments to enjoy nature.

Hearty Bakes said...

Your dish looks delicious! I'm sure it has " 妈妈的味道". I llove such dish, having all the ingredients in one pot. Best still, goes well with plain rice. Usually, I will add tau-pok, tau-kua, tauki, peanuts and quail eggs. Usually i din't put star anise and cinnamon stick, will follow your recipe the next time I cook this. Thanks for sharing.

Miss B @ Everybody Eats Well in Flanders said...

Super like! Reminds me of my mum's cooking. I can imagine eating that with porridge. Pour lots of the tau you bah juice over the porridge... Drooling already:)

Will try this recipe next time, thanks for sharing.


The Experimental Cook said...

I just had this dish, but it never taste the same twice, only BLACK. LOL. I throw in any herbs of-the-day I have in the house, that is why.
Your method may help put some consistency in my Lor-Bak. Do you braise it in a pressure pot or slow cooker ?

Cuisine Paradise said...

I love this comfort dish to. My dad use to cook at least once a week and i missed his braised duck and pork belly which i can never achieve that homely fragrant taste.

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Tracey said...

this is gorgeous! thanks for the recipe and the great pics!

Happy Homebaker said...

Bakeling, I like the tau kwa and the 卤蛋!

Jane, if I were you, I won't bother to learn how to cook :)

Cupcake, hope you will like it!

SSB, you can use leaner meat eg the 'muscle' cut, ask the stall owners in the market and they will know. If not you can use chicken wings instead.

neyeeloh, do drop me a note if you try it :)

Happy Homebaker said...

edith, this is indeed a popular dish!

Jessie, this certainly reminds me of my mum's cooking.

Bee, yes the 'lor' is best for plain porridge…Teochew style!

The Experimental Cook, I cook it over gas stove, I don't own any pressure pot or slow cooker ;)

Ellena, yes, thanks for the reminder, I like braised duck too…someday, I will love to try cook it.

Thanks Tracey!

Su-yin said...

Oh I love this dish - not made it with tau pok before, thanks for the great idea. Must pick some up from Chinatown!

The Experimental Cook said...

This recipe rocks. My girl, who is usually picky, actually loves the sauce. No polite "hmm, it tastes interesting" kind of stuff.
This, even when I discovered I left out the cinnamon stick after polishing everything.

Blessed Homemaker said...

I just cooked this last week! I don't have a recipe, just dump in whatever I can find in my kitchen. That explains why the taste is never consistent :P

I usually blanch the meat before cooking. Let me try your method next time.

My kids like tau pok as they find it very juicy after soaking in the sauce. They dislike hard-boiled eggs so I omit that. But without eggs, somelike unlike the regular lu rou.

BTW, I like your sunset pic!

Eddel29 said...

i like this recipe. so much!! thanks for sharing this perfect menu.

JoJo said...

I thought this is a delicious dish that me & my husband would love. Would definitely try it sometime this week. Thanks for your sharing.

Justina said...

i tried pork muscle but the meat turned out to be quite tough, can you tell me what went wrong?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Justina, I think pork muscle needs a longer time to cook till tender?

emma's mummy said...

Hi, Happy Homebaker

Tried this recipe yesterday for a gathering. It was third dish that I prepared since morning, I am pretty exhausted when doing this dish for 1kg pork belly, and went back to take nap after putting it to simmer. Fortunately, when I woke up an hour later, it was nicely done. And in the evening, every one said this dish nice. Thanks for sharing!