Red-Braised Pork Hock with Shiitake Mushrooms

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

The pork hock is deep-fried to change the texture of the skin after the first braising, but you can also just leave it to cook fully in the sauce. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry if you do deep-fry it, or it will spit in the oil. This was one of the first Chinese dishes I cooked when I was a young man and in love with Asian food. It has been on the Rockpool and XO menus for years as the gelatinous texture of the skin with the melting sweet pork flesh is superb.

Ingredients

  • 1 × 400–500 g (about 1 lb) whole fresh pork hock
  • 15 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, stalks removed, cut in half on the diagonal
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) shaoxing
  • 1 knob of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 6 spring onions (scallions), trimmed
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 100 g ( oz/½ cup) crushed yellow rock sugar
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 pieces dried tangerine peel
  • peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Method

Put the hock into a large pot and cover with 4 litres (16 cups) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the surface regularly to remove any scum. Add the shaoxing, ginger and garlic and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Add the spring onions, soy sauces, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and tangerine peel, and simmer for 1½-2 hours more, or until the hock is tender. Remove the hock from the stock and leave both the hock and the stock to cool before refrigerating separately overnight.

The next day, skim the fat from the surface of the stock and return the stock to the stove. Bring to the boil and add the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until smoking (180°C/350°F), and deep-fry the hock for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the hock to the stock and simmer for a further 25 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Increase the heat and boil the stock until it reduces to 500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups), then add the sesame oil. Put the whole hock in a serving bowl and pour the stock over the top.