I felt like something easy tonight – something that I could just chuck into the oven and forget about. This Vietnamese inspired dish is just that – it features one of my guilty favourites, pork belly. I know I’m supposed to not eat all the fatty bits, but I can’t help myself, it’s the best – it’s especially fabulous when it’s been slowly braised until it literally melts in your mouth. Heaven! This dish is mild, fragrant and light, which balances well with the pork. The eggs are a stroke of genius, adding a great texture to the sauce. The sauce itself is thin and souplike and really delicious. It’s a simple and fuss free dish that left to its own devices cooks perfectly without any interference from you.
4 eggs (hard boiled then peeled)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
600g Pork spare ribs (cut into large bite sized pieces)
1/2 onion (chopped)
5 star anise
1 sick lemon grass (cut in half, lightly bruised)
2″ piece ginger (peeled and chopped)
3 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
250ml coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat oven to 180ºC
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Fry the pork pieces for 2 minutes each side until browned. Add to an oven proof casserole pan. With the frying pan still over the heat, pour in the coconut milk and 300ml water then stir in the turmeric, soy sauce, fish sauce and pepper. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat and pour over the pork.
Stir in the onion, star anise, lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Cover the pan with a lid or kitchen foil and bake for 1 hour. Stir well, then bake covered for a further 1 hour until the pork is very tender. Add the hard boiled eggs and cook for 10 minutes before serving.
I served mine with some coconut rice and a crunchy mixed salad.