Ages ago, we frequented a Korean fusion restaurant where we ordered the same dish on every visit — beef stew. The restaurant folded up long ago but, over the years, I manage to deconstruct the recipe for the stew. This is the pork version.
But why substitute pork for beef at all? Two reasons. If you’re feeding a crowd, you cut down on cost (I originally developed this recipe for holiday family reunions). If you’re concerned about the length of cooking time, pork cooks in half the time. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Why add hard-boiled eggs? Again, it has to do with economics. Hard-boiled eggs make a wonderful extender. And if really want to stretch a pot of this pork stew, cut the pork in smaller cubes and add hard-boiled quail eggs.
But does the pork version taste just as good as the original beef stew? Yes, it does. But it is essential that you use pork with a generous amount of fat in it. If you use too lean cut, when the meat reaches the fork-tender stage, it will have the texture of dry stringy pork rather than a succulent stew.
Sweet Spicy Pork Stew
- cooking oil for browning
- 1 kilogram pork belly cut into 2-inch cubes
- 4 cloves garlic lightly pounded
- 1 shallot halved
- 1 thumb-sized piece ginger rinsed and scrubbed, no need to peel
- ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns crushed
- 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar or more, if you have a sweet tooth
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 4 cups bone broth you may need more
- salt to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- chopped parsley to garnish
- 3 to 6 eggs hard-boiled
- Heat about three tablespoons cooking oil in a wide and deep thick-bottomed pan.
- Brown the pork, in batches if necessary, turning the pieces around for even coloring.
- Scoop out the browned pork and discard the oil.
- Put the pork back into the pan.
- Add the garlic, shallot, ginger, peppercorns, chili powder, paprika, bay leaf, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar.
- Pour in the bone broth.
- Bring to the boil.
- Set the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer the pork for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the meat is very tender.
- Halfway through the cooking, taste the sauce and add salt if the sauce isn’t salty enough. Do not be tempted to add more soy sauce instead of salt; otherwise, the broth will turn too dark. You do not want a dark brown sauce; you want a reddish brown sauce.
- While the pork simmers, toast the sesame seeds. Place them in a small frying pan and set over medium-low heat. Shake the pan often for even toasting.
- When the pork is done, scoop out the shallot halves, ginger, garlic and bay leaf, and discard.
- Peel the eggs and add to the pork. Stir to add color to the egg whites.
- Ladle the pork, eggs and sauce into a serving bowl.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped parsley.
- Serve your sweet spicy pork stew hot.