Sweet and Sour Pork Hock

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    8

    as Part of a Banquet

Appears in

Sweet and sour pork was pretty much a staple for Aussie families that grew up between the 1970s and the 1990s. My version is inspired by Longrain’s caramelised pork hock dish with Chinese five-spice and chilli vinegar. Start this recipe a day ahead if you’re going to go the whole hog and make the terrine.

Ingredients

Pork Hocks

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 5 cm (2 inch) piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) Chinese red vinegar
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) fish sauce
  • 200 g (7 oz) soy paste
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) tomato ketchup

The Rest

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 3 small long red chillies, thinly sliced into rounds
  • fried shallots (Essentials), to garnish
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish

Method

Day 1 Pork Hocks

Add the masterstock to a large stockpot and bring to the boil. Add the pork hocks. Simmer for about 5 hours, or until the hocks are completely soft and gelatinous, and the bones can be removed easily. Transfer the hocks to a tray and leave them until cool enough to handle. Remove all the bones and knuckles, trying not to break up the meat and skin too much.

Line a large roasting tin with baking paper and spread the pork hock meat, fat and skin on it as evenly as possible. Place another piece of baking paper on top, and then sandwich another baking tray on top to compress everything. Use a few heavy jars, or a six-pack of beer to weight the baking tray down. Refrigerate the compressed pork structure overnight.

Day 2 Sweet and Sour Sauce

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in the bowl of a food processor and blend until a fine paste forms. Set aside. Fill a wide saucepan with 100 ml ( fl oz) water, add the sugar and heat over a medium–high heat. Resist the urge to stir, just bring to the boil and allow the heat to begin to transform the sugar. It should take about 5–6 minutes to turn a golden caramel colour. During that time, if crystals start to appear you can give the pan a little swirl, or use a wet pastry brush to remove any crystals.

Add the remaining ingredients as well as the reserved paste and simmer everything down until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cover and keep warm.

The Rest

Cut the pork terrine into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes. Fill a large wok or deep-fryer one-third full with oil and heat to 180°C (350°F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 15 seconds. Deep-fry about 10 pieces of pork at a time for 3 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Drain each batch on paper towels, then transfer to serving plates and coat liberally with the sweet and sour sauce. Pile the spring onions and chillies on top of each piece, followed by the fried shallots and coriander.