I love pork belly, here’s my latest foray into pork belly-dom.
Tau Yu Bak. Pork belly braised in a cinnamon and star anise flavored soy sauce.
Let’s get braising
You’ll need, pork belly, thick soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, garlic, water, cinnamon, star anise, whole cloves, and hard boiled eggs. I didn't have any thick soy sauce so I thought some pomegranate molasses would be a great addition; I was right.
It was nice of the butcher to score the fat cap, which provided me with some nice guidelines for cutting the meat into cubes.
The recipe calls for the whole head of garlic. Take the whole head of garlic and smack it nose down, (root up) on the counter, the individual cloves separate easily. Do not peel the cloves.
Put the pork into the pot and add the cloves of garlic. The recipe calls for using a clay pot if you have one; I used my tagine; if not, a regular pot is just fine.
Add the thick soy sauce, the light soy sauce and the water.
Add the cinnamon, star anise and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
I decided to add the pepper flakes later, that's why they aren't in the ingredients photo.
Turn the heat on high, and as soon as the pot is hot, reduce to medium, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, and then, uncover and simmer until the meat is tender. Occasionally stir so the meat will take on the color of the soy sauce.
Make sure you have a lot of rice at the ready.
I served it with fresh asparagus and a salad of spinach, pea shoots and arugula topped with a sunny side up quail egg.
Life is good
Here's the recipe I got from House of Annie (waving hi to Annie and Nate)
I included all her comments and notes.
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Tau Yu Bak (Pork Braised In Soy Sauce)
2 lbs belly pork
1 or other fat-marbled cuts of pork
2 tbs thick soy sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 small piece (about thumb size) rock sugar
1 head garlic, skin on; broken into cloves
1/8 1/4 cup water
1 stick Cinnamon; optional
2 star anise; optional
2-3 whole cloves; optional
6 hard boiled eggs
1. Cut belly pork into larger bite-sized pieces. Put pork into clay pot (if
you have one. Otherwise, use regular pot.)
2. Add the garlic.
3. Add the thick soy sauce and the light soy sauce (because I do eyeball, I
would ask that you make sure that your sauce at this point should not be
more than a third way up the meat).
4. Turn heat on to high and as soon as the pot is hot, turn to medium and
simmer, stirring occasionally to coat pork with soy sauce. When pork is
half done, maybe about 20 mins in, add a bit of water if sauce is getting
too dry. Don't overdo the water.
5. Add a piece of rock sugar (not too much at first and more to taste if
still not sweet enough) and also the eggs. Cover and simmer for another 20
mins or until pork is tender and eggs take on dark color of soy sauce.
1. You can also add some dried chilies in this dish to give it a spicy
2. My mom also used to add some sea cucumber to the dish. Give it a try if
you want. It’s harder to find sea cucumber here and expensive to boot so I
never bother to add (plus I don't even know how to prep a sea cucumber much
less choose one).
3. Sometimes I add firm tofu (taukwa) to the dish. The tofu soaks up all
the wonderful flavors from the sauce.
Serve and enjoy over rice. Lots of rice
Tau Yu Bak (Pork Braised in Soy Sauce)
The secret really is that you have to use belly pork (or at least
country-style ribs-I use these more now but it's nowhere as good as using
belly pork). The fat in this cut makes this dish sing! That and the garlic
is key. Well, ok, the soy sauce is also quite crucial. But truly, that's
I want to say that when I make this dish, I tend to eyeball the seasonings.
The main flavor component is the saltiness of the soy sauce, but there
should be just enough sweetness to play a nice contrast to that saltiness.
The garlic also adds a depth of flavor that marries well with the pork.
Some people add cloves, star anise and cinnamon to the sauce but I find
that keeping it simple actually accentuates the garlic-porky-salty-sweet
flavors in tau yu bak. I leave that option open for those who'd like more
Also, we've always kept the skins on the garlic in this braise. I wasn't
sure why until this last time I made it when I did not keep the skin on.
When you don't keep the skin on the garlic what happens is the garlic melts
into the sauce and the soy flavor is muddied a little. It's still
delicious but you really do want to just have the garlic infuse the soy
sauce and not overwhelm the whole dish. Also, keeping it whole in the skin
lets you suck up a whole melted garlic clove that has been braised in soy
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And that's that