When I came home last night, planning to just cook a simple aglio olio pasta for dinner, I saw some pre-packed preserved vegetables that Ade had brought back from Taiwan and I knew that I have some pork belly lying in the freezer that I intended to roast. So why not 梅菜扣肉 (braise the pork belly with preserved vegetable)?
Ingredients (portion for 1 person):
Pork Belly, a strip which I cut into 4 pieces (300g)
Preserved Vegetable, dried ones (50g)
Garlic, Skin peeled and cut into halves (5~8 cloves)
Bay Leave (1 piece crushed)
Dark sauce (~ 1 table spoon)
Light sauce (~ 1 table spoon)
Sugar (~ 1 table spoon)
Rice Wine (~ 1 table spoon)
1) Soak the preserved vegetable into water and wash it to remove the sand and grit. I rinse it twice and then soak for 10mins. Take one piece of the vegetable and try it. If it's saltiness is acceptable and not cringing that should be good enough. This will vary from the different type of preserved vegetable that you use.
2) Squeeze out as much water from the preserved vegetable (with hands).
3) Heat up the wok and fry the preserved vegetable without any oil. When it's quite dry and giving out some fragrance, take it out of the wok (It's not a Chinese wok but one with a handle) and place it on a plate.
4) Stir fry the garlic with some cooking oil (I use olive oil, if you are particular about the oil). When the garlic is just starting to get brown, add the pork belly and continue to stir fry. Then add the dark sauce, light sauce and sugar. Stir fry till the pork belly is completely coated in black. Add the rice wine and fry for another 30 seconds.
5) (If you would like to transfer the ingredients into a pot or earthen ware) Pour water into the wok until the pork belly is fully submerged. Add the preserved vegetables. Bring it to a boil and then put to slow fire. Add the crushed bay leaf.
6) Optional - at this point add hard boiled eggs if you would like to have braised egg.
7) Cover the wok with a lid and then simmer for at least 2 hours (or until the lean meat of the pork belly becomes tender soft).
This really goes well with rice.