VIETNAMESE CARAMELISED PORK
Undeniably sweet, undeniably delicious and surprisingly very easy to prepare. Some recipes leave out the added spices, ie the ginger, lemongrass, chilli, star anise and Chinese 5 spice powder, so you don't have to worry too much if you are short of the extra ingredients, but they do temper the wallop of sweetness somehow.
1 tbsp. coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
600g pork shoulder, cut into fairly large pieces
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. grated root ginger
2 cm squeeze (approx.) lemongrass puree, from a tube
1 cm squeeze (approx.) chilli paste, from a tube
75g soft brown sugar
1 star anise
1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder
2 tsps. fish sauce (nam pla)
Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan with a lid (or saucepan/wok with lid)
Brown the pork in the oil and set aside
In the same pan (unwashed) gently fry the onion until soft, then grate in the garlic and ginger; add the lemongrass and chilli and keep cooking gently for a couple of minutes, stirring.
Add the soft brown sugar, star anise, Chinese 5 spice powder, 200ml of water and the fish sauce. Stir.
Add the pork to the pan and bring up to simmering
Clamp on the lid, turn down the heat and cook very gently on the hob for about one and a quarter hours, or until the pork is soft and tender.
To make the sauce deliciously sticky and cling to the pork, remove the lid, turn up the heat and bubble the sauce hard to reduce. Keep your eye on it!
For those who don't like coconut - if using coconut oil - you won't taste it