Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Stewed Pork Belly with Fried Tofu

Whenever my late dad wanted to have plain porridge, he would ask mum to cook pork belly with tofu and with added dark caramel sauce.  Besides him, practically we have grown up eating this dish since my grandparents' era!  I still remember back in my kampung/hometown in Ayer Tawar, our neighbours used to cook this dish and most of them would have it with porridge too.  Are you curious how we eat it with porridge?  I do not know about the others, but back in my kampung, my family and neighbours would mix the thick gravy tofu into their piping hot porridge.  Then, we would use a spoon or chopsticks to break/cut the tofu into small pieces, mix it with porridge, then, 1 spoon of porridge into the mouth, slurrpppp.... followed by a piece of the pork belly... close your eyes, ehmmmm..... so yummy.  Back then, in the 1970s, this is considered quite a luxurious meal for kampung folks in Ayer Tawar where majority of them were rubber tappers.  However, nowadays it's just a common dish and everyone knows how to cook it.  In fact my children like too.
This time I didn't eat it with porridge but with steamed rice.  Then, I noticed that my children mixed the pieces of tofu and gravy into their rice.  It's indeed very delish.....

Ingredients :
- 1 strip of pork belly (blanched and cut)
- 5 pcs hard tofu (cut into four, slightly fried until golden brown)
- 1/2 tbsp fermented soy bean paste/tau cheong (for frying)
- 1 1/2 tbsp fermented soy bean paste/tau cheong (to taste)
- 1 bulb of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- water (enough for stewing)
Seasonings : (to taste)
- a dash of salt
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp caramel sauce (reduce the amount if you don't like your dish to be in dark colour)
- 1 tsp sugar
Method :
1)  Heat some oil in a wok and pan fry the tofu until slightly brown. (You can deep fry until golden brown if you like but I prefer it to be pan fried).
2)  Push the tofu to the side of the wok.  Saute garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick and 1/2 tbsp of fermented soy bean paste until aromatic.
 3)  Add pork belly and tofu. Stir fry for a while and mix well.
4)  Add water, the remaining fermented bean paste and caramel sauce. Mix well. Cover and let it boil over high heat for about 5 minutes. Then, lower the heat and let it simmer until the gravy is thickened and/or the meat is cooked and tender. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the fire and pot/wok used. Add water if you want more gravy.
5)  Lastly, add in the remaining seasonings and bring it to a boil again for 1 or 2 minutes.  
6)  Dish up and serve with plain porridge or steamed rice.
The tofu is very flavourful as it's being stewed together with the meat.
No doubt this is a very simple and common dish, my family members have fond memory of this dish as it reminds us of our beloved dad ~

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Perak month hosted by WendyinKK of Table for Two….or more

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