Soy and Spice Simmered Pork Shoulder: “Annie’s Pork”

Se Bak


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    servings as part of a multi-dish meal (easy to double and its gets better the next day)

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

Annie Leong, my mother-in-law, has been my indispensable tutor in Malaysian cookery. This is one of her simple, delicious recipes, which is similar to the Chinese style of “red cooking” from the Fukian region. But this version takes on a distinctly Southeast Asian spin with its infusion of lemongrass and galangal. The star anise and cinnamon perfume the rich brown sauce with their kind aromas. If can you resist finishing it all and refrigerate for the next day make sure to remove the spice so they do not over flavor infuse their flavor. A pressure cooker works extremely well for this dish. Simply pressure cook 20 minutes to achieve ultra-tender pork. Steamed white rice and some sliced cucumbers complete the meal.


  • lb. (227 g.) Pork shoulder or butt, cut into 2-inch (5 cm.) chunks (do not trim fat or skin)
  • 3 Tbsp. Dark soy sauce or ¼ Tbsp. Black/thick soy and 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 4 medium Shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Vegetable oil
  • 3 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and bruised
  • 4 slices Galangal, ¼ inch (0.6 cm.) thick
  • 1 stick “Cassia” Cinnamon (about 3 inches (7.5 cm.) long)
  • 2 pieces Star anise


  1. Marinate pork in soy sauce and sugar for at least 1 hour. In blender, minifood processor or mortar, create a smooth paste with shallots, garlic and oil. (in mortar pound garlic first, then add shallots and pound until smooth, stir in oil and proceed)
  2. Heat a 4 qt. (4 L.) saucepan over medium-low heat; add shallot mixture. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until raw aroma has dissipated. Add marinated pork (with any marinade), lemongrass, galangal, cinnamon and star anise. Add just enough water to cover (usually about two and a half cups).
  3. Bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer. Cook until pork is very tender, about 1 to 1½ hours. Adjust seasoning with soy sauce, sugar, and salt to taste.
  4. Before storage remove the star anise and cassia so they do not overpower.