This recipe is adapted from CheatEat using the most basic of Thai flavors: coriander, pepper and garlic. It is savoury, peppery and on the sweet side due to the generous amount of palm sugar used.
Palm sugar is widely used in Southeast Asian cooking for both savoury and sweet dishes. It has a distinct caramelised, nutty flavour and is more complex as compared to refined sugars. There are different types of palm sugars depending on the type of palm sap, cooking method, level of caramelisation and also additives. For this dish, I used gula Melaka instead of the light yellow Thai palm sugar.
Gula Melaka, which means "Malacca Sugar" in Malay, and is named after the state of Malacca in Malaysia where it is believed to be originated in. It is made from the sap obtained from young coconut shoot, which is then caramelised by boiling for a couple of hours until it turns thick and dark brown in colour. The molten palm sugar is poured into small coconut shells or bamboo moulds and allowed to cool and set. The darker colour, the more more fragrant and smoky and nutty aroma one has.
Thai Style Braised Pork BellyPrintable recipe
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 1/2 hr
Yield: serves 4-5
- 850 g pork belly - cut into chunks
- 200 g brown beech mushrooms/ shimeji (optional)
- 1 inch ginger - sliced
- 1/2 bulb garlic - peeled and crushed
- 1/3 cup fresh coriander roots and stem - finely chopped
- 40 g gula Melaka (palm sugar) - grated with a knife
- 1/2 tbs white pepper powder
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs Cheong Chan Thick Dark Soy Sauce (Thick Caramel Sauce) (optional, for colouring purposes)
- Heat up a bit of oil in a pot. Add ginger, garlic and coriander, stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add pork, palm sugar*, pepper and dark soy sauce. Stir to coat.
- Pour in enough water to cover all the ingredients, bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for about 1-1/2 hrs or until pork is tender and sauce is reduced.
- Add mushrooms and leave to simmer for a few mins or until the mushrooms are cooked.
- Season to taste.
*This dish is on the sweet side, so use less if you prefer it to be less sweet. You can always add more later to taste.