Friday, March 4, 2016

Hakka Braised Pork Belly with Dried Cuttlefish (吊片焖花腩)

Hakka cuisine may be described as outwardly simple, but tasty. The ingredients are generally seasonally available in the market. Pragmatic and simple.

This is another Hakka Style Braised Pork Belly dish. Hakka Braised Pork Belly with Dried Cuttlefish (吊片焖花腩). This recipe has some similarity to my previous Hakka Simmered Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Green (客家梅菜焖猪肉), but this one taste more Umami. The skill in Hakka cuisine lies in the ability to cook meat thoroughly without hardening it, and to bring out the proteinous flavor (Umami Taste) of the meat.

My late father loves this dish so so so much. He always be home early when he knew my mom is going to cook this dish for dinner. Whenever I cook this dish, I will think of my dad's smile and how he ask my mom to scoop another bowl of rice for him.

It's a sad thing that not many younger generations know this dish. I asked a few youngsters few days ago, they didn't know it actually exist. I hope this dish can be recreated again and again and again by other families and bring the Hakka traditions back to the dining table.

(Source: My late Grandma Mdm. Chong and My mother - Mdm Chai)
  • 500g Pork Belly, with skin (五花肉, 连皮)
  • 100g Dried Cuttlefish Strips (吊片丝/鱿鱼干丝)
  • 3 tbsp Pork Lard with Lard Bits (猪油 + 猪油渣)
  • 8 cloves Garlic, cut into half (蒜头)
  • 2 shallot, sliced (小葱头)
  • 2 slices Ginger, julienned (姜)
  • 700ml Water (水)
  • 1 tbso Shao Xing Wine (绍兴酒/花雕酒)
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce (蚝油) *See Note
  • 1½ tbsp Soy Sauce (酱油)
  • 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (黑酱油)
  • 20g Rock Sugar (冰糖)
Note : 
My grandma didn't use Oyster Sauce when she cook this dish. My mom improvised this dish to make it even tastier by adding half a tbsp of Oyster Sauce at later days.

Life was so much simpler during childhood times where we only have very little condiments. Pigs were locally farmed, and pigs are fed with grains that is almost organic. Meat taste more porky and delicious too. So, it's the change in society that makes recipe change? I'm not sure, but I think it's not difficult to understand :)

  • Rinse dried cuttlefish strips and soak dried cuttlefish strips in 700ml water for 20mins. Remove soaked cuttlefish strips and reserve the 700ml water for later use.
  • Cut pork belly into bite size.
  • Slice shallots, julienned ginger, and cut garlic cloves into half.

  • Heat up wok WITHOUT oil. Add in cuttlefish strips and julienned ginger, stir fry on medium heat until cuttlefish aroma comes out, and looked abit dry. Dish up and set aside.
  • With the same wok, heat up 3 tbsp Pork Lard with Lard Bits. When you can smell the pork lard aroma, add in sliced shallot, garlic cloves and fry till fragrant. The garlic looked slightly yellow. 
  • Add in pork belly pieces, increase the heat slightly, stir fry the pork for awhile until the pork set its shape and almost cooked.
  • Add in cuttlefish strips and Rock Sugar. Fry for awhile, add water, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and soy sauce. Stir well and bring to a boil. (Tips : Once it is boiled, you may go ahead to transfer the dish to a claypot for further simmering. I did that. But this step is optional)
  • Covered, lower heat and simmer for approximately 45mins until the pork pieces are tender and the flavor has been absorbed, or until the gravy is almost absorbed. Scatter Shao Xing Wine, mix well, let it simmer for another minute and its ready to dish up.
  • For tastier result, cook this dish a day in advance. (Read on)
Dried cuttlefish were sold in two forms. The whole dried cuttlefish is commonly sold in the market generally for brewing soups. The dried cuttlefish strips were sold in a pack to ease the convenience of consumers to snip their own strips at home. Dried cuttlefish strips generally used to cook dishes like stir-fry or steamed pork patty.

Save the hassle. Just buy the dried cuttlefish strips and your job would be so much easier. I bought my dried cuttlefish strips from Japan during my trip to Osaka last year. It taste so so so good! Haha.

Here's the picture tutorial :

This dish is the same as my previous braised pork belly dish. I cook this portion, half portion eat fresh, and keep the remaining half for tomorrow. This dish keeps well for upto 3 days in the fridge, and probably 12 days in the freezer. And I swear that it taste so so so soooo much better on the next day.

Yumms!! Two bowls of rice please!!!

I would also suggest you to take a look at my another two Hakka Style Braised Pork Belly dishes

Happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm writing to let you know that this recipe is a keeper. My family loves it sooo much! Thanks for sharing ❤