Dung Po Rou (Pork) 东坡肉: Braised Pork Belly

I have a slab of pork belly sitting in the freezer for some time now which I initially bought to make roast pork (siew yoke). I was cracking my head on what to do with it when I recalled seeing a picture of a succulent piece of pork belly on WendyinKK’s blog.

I did a quick search on “pork belly” and found her ‘Dong Po Pork’. Checked my fridge and kitchen and I have all in ingredients needed to make the braised pork belly. As I was chauffeuring my girls to their enrichment classes in the morning, it would mean that I could only get this dish ready for dinner.

So I spent a good part of the mid-morning and afternoon making this dish, and boy, was it worth the time and effort to make this. The two thumbs-up and gleeful faces I got from my hubs and elder gal were priceless.

The flavour and taste of this pork belly is just superb, The meat and skin just melt in the mouth and the gravy – it’s especially yummy to drizzle it onto a plate of hot steam rice. Both my hubs and girl loved it so much that they had a second helping of rice tonight. So looks like this is something I have to make again soon.

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Dong Po Rou

Dong Po Rou (Pork) 东坡肉 (adapted from WendyinKK)

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Ingredients:

1kg pork belly, skin on
100gm spring onions
50 gm ginger
500gm Shao Xing Wine
100gm light soy sauce
20gm dark soy sauce
80gm rock sugar (or in Wendy’s recipe: brown candy sugar)

Method:

1. Boil a pot of water and scald the pork belly for approx 5 minutes. Drain and set it aside.
2. Cut the spring onions lengthwise (into halves) to fit the base of pot. Slice ginger and placed on top of the spring onions.
3. Placed the boiled pork belly onto the spring onions/ ginger with its skin side down.
4. Measure out the light and dark soy sauces and then pour into the pot. Add the sugar and lastly the rice wine. Add some water if the liquid level is too low.
5. Add some water to ensure that there is liquid covering most part of the pork.
6. Boil the pork on high heat for about 15-20mins, and then reduced it to low heat and simmer for about 2 hours. (I flipped the pork over on its halfway mark). Note: to test for tenderness, see if it can be poked through with a chopstick.
6. Remove pork belly from pot and put into a steaming dish, skin side up.
7. Steam the pork belly on high heat for at least 30 minutes. (According to WendyinKK, this is a crucial step, so do not skip this step)
8. Pour gravy (in pot) over the pork when it has finished steaming.

A great dish to serve with a bowl of warm steam rice. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Note: I used a shallow claypot for braising the pork.

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Putting it into the claypot for braising

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The sliced up pork

 

Note to self: I found out a friend also made the same dish recently and when I read her blog, I noticed that she added star anise and cinnamon when braising the pork. I think I’ll try that next time and see if it’ll enhance the flavour of the pork and the gravy further. Will keep you posted!

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Pa-ong: The Terengganu Sweet Breadroll

For as long as I can remember, I grew up eating “pa-ong” as a kid. (Maybe that’s why I’m like a ‘pa-ong’ now! Hahaha) … My grandma and my eldest aunt (ma-yee) used to make it on regular basis. We’d hardly buy any bread. And we’ll always have a fermented tub of yeast ready in the fridge ready to be used at anytime.

When I was away in Australia studying, to keep her busy and to “earn my pocket money” (in her own words), my mom decided to make pa-ong to sell. She adapted her pa-ong recipe from my grandma’s and perfected it. She did it so well that she became a household name. She would also get orders from friends who’d order 20-30 plates when they travel to visit families or friends overseas. So her pa-ong had travelled to places she has never been to before, like US and the UK.

So what makes ‘pa-ong’ different from the store-baked sweet rolls? 

For one, It’s HANDMADE – the texture is different from those machine made. Trust me, we’ve tried as my mom used to sell ‘paong’ in KTrg (in fact she made quite a name for herself in the late 1990s/ early 2000s). There’s just no easy way out.

Secondly, it’s baked in the enamel-coated tray. Those aluminum baking tray just doesn’t make give it the same texture because ‘paong’ needs to have a nice crunchy crust at the bottom. That’s the best part of the bun!

Third, because of the shape of the enamel tray, you’d associate ‘paong’ with that round shape – in 18-21 pieces. Today, when you visit KTrg town, you can see it being sold in many other sizes and ‘shapes’ such as rectangle (probably baked in bread loaf tray) – and in my personal opinion, it’s just not it.

And lastly, during my grandma’s days, the paong is baked using charcoal. According to my aunt, that would give it an even more softer texture. But I reckoned temperature control would be even more difficult.

 

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So depending on the flour, the heat of the oven, it seems that you may get different texture of the bread. What my mom made in KTrg, using the flour there and her own oven at home, she can’t seems to replicate it here in my home in Spore using my oven, or maybe it’s just not her home!

Paong is also a very “flexible” food – it can be eaten plain, with extra butter, with kaya, with peanut butter, with jam, dunked in milo or coffee or tea. It can be made plain without any filling, or you can filled it with butter (most common and most well-liked), with “inti” (syrup shredded coconut), with ‘sambal ikan” (same as that you find in pulut lepa). And if your paong dough doesn’t rise, you can turn it into ‘paong chien” … fried paong!!! And believe me, this is even more yummy!

 

Pa-ong: Terengganu Sweet Breadroll (Source: Grandma’s recipe and perfected by mom)
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Ingredients
200g plain flour
60g sugar
1 egg
100ml water (room temp – NOT hot/ warm water)
1/8 tsp dried instant yeast

Method

Dissolve sugar in water. Add in yeast and egg. (Dont have to beat the egg). Just cracked it and stir it in with your fingers till well mixed. Leave it for about ½ hour for it to ‘bubble’. Slowly add flour and knead till the dough is soft and that the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. Leave the dough for a few hours, covered with a cloth.

Divide into 18-21 pieces and knead into small pieces. Knead using your fingertips till you see a “glossy” skin.

(When you want to knead individually, you should grease your finger lightly with butter/ margarine – helps so that dough doesn’t stick stick to the fingers). Wrap a small knob of frozen butter in the dough and close the end of the bun (almost like how you’d make ‘pao’ but upside down).

Generously grease the enamel–coated tray* with margarine/ butter and arrange the dough in circles in the round baking tray. Leave the dough to rise. Once the dough rises (about 6-8hrs later) bake in high heat (about 200-210C) for about 15 mins or till the bun is golden brown.


Note 1: Make sure you twist it tight before you turn it down and place it on the tray, or else the butter will leak out when baking. And also, do not push the butter too far deep into the center. When you overturn it, if it’s too near the top and the dough is too thin, the dough will break during baking and again leaking the butter out from the top.

Note 2: * this is prob one of the reason that gives ‘paong’ that tasty crunch!

Note 3: To ensure bottom of bun is also ‘brown’, I’d usually bake it on the bottom lowest (or 2nd lowest) rack in the oven and at the last 1-2 min, I’ll bring it up to the top most rack to allow the surface of the bun to brown

Today, grandma (my mom) to make it for my 2 girls whenever they ask for it. Although I’ve tried making this a few times under my mom’s guidance, it is still not as “perfect” as hers…. Will keep on trying!

My “virgin” post.

After procrastinating for more than a year, I finally decided to get down to it. I was prompted to start blogging my recipes when I participated in the Malaysian Food Fest – Terengganu event on Facebook more than a year ago by the food blogger who was hosting the event, but somehow never got around to do it.

Frankly, I have been wanting to do it even before that – with an ultimate objective: to find a “place” where I can keep all my recipes – all those hand-me-downs recipes from my mom and family (grandma, grandaunts, aunts and cousin’s recipes), those that I’ve cut and collected over the years, those I’ve exchanged with friends, and those I’ve learned from cooking/ baking classes.  Secondly, to share my recipes, cooking and baking experiences and stories with my friends.

I hope to regularly (at least once a month?) update this blog and share both KT (as in Kuala Terengganu’s food recipes) and also simple home-cooked meals as well as my bakes. So do drop in and please feel free to leave comments and feedback. So I will get on with posting of recipes this weekend once I have a little more time to learn more functionality and features of this blog page.

Meanwhile, I will keep this virgin post short sweet and simple … Until the next post, happy baking and cooking!