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Braised Pork Cheek in Soya Sauce


This is a great autumn/winter dish, served with rice. It can be done just with soya sauce and honey or sugar but I think the note of star anise is a vital aromatic note. The garlic and shallot adds a touch more complexity, but you can leave it if you don’t have any.

Pork belly or shoulder is good too. My Mum would use belly but I had this beautiful piece of pork cheek Middle White.

  • Pork Cheek / Pork Belly (1 cheek per person, 1 Slice belly per person); cut into chunks
  • 2 Star anise
  • 4 -6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 – 6 shallots
  • Light soya sauce
  • Dark soya sauce
  • Sweet soya sauce
  • Sugar / honey

Cut the pork cheek into chunks and brown in a pot. If you start fat side down or cut up a little fat then you won’t need any oil to get you going. After browning, you can soften the garlic (cloves crush) and shallots (halved) before adding the pork back.

Then add a mix of light soy, dark soy, sweet soy and sugar/honey. If no sweet soy add more sugar to taste. If you don’t like it too sweet, you can leave out the sugar. My marinade would be about 6 table spoons of light soy, 6 table spoons of dark soy, 2 spoons of sweet soy and a spoon of sugar.

Then add water (or pork stock for a richer stew) to cover and simmer for 1.5 to 3 hours until tender and melting. Serve with rice and some oriental greens or water cress. A boiled egg added 15 minutes before the end is also a tasty addition.

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