Back when I was living in Japan, sending gloaty messages back home about the o-toro I was scoffing or my latest trip to Mister Donut, my younger sister would ritually get her own back by sending me a message every time my family were sitting down to this meal. Boiled pork with my mum’s special dipping sauce, spicy pork soup and fresh white rice – it’s pretty much a family tradition. The mongrel family’s equivalent of a roast, only better.
The pork is rich, the dipping sauce is zippy – and the cooking liquor makes the perfect soup when added to the pig-fan’s secret weapon, preserved vegetable. This spicy good stuff is a cupboard staple to make any stir-fry or soup punchy. Serve up our cochon friend with bowls of freshly-cooked white rice and a little bit of greenery in the form of stir-fried pak choi or spinach (or in this case, sweet and sour aubergine) and you’ve got a envy-inducing piggy treat.
And in the spirit of gingery pep, a little background music for your chopping board times:
To the pig!
1 x pork shoulder (even better, loin)
Thumb-sized piece of root ginger, split down the middle and bashed with the flat of a knife
3 spring onions, chopped in half and bashed
- Trim off any excess fat from the pork and add to a large pan of cold water with the ginger and spring onions
- Bring to the boil and skim off the scum
- Turn down the heat, pop a lid on the pan and continue to let it bubble gently for a further 2 hours
- Remove the pork and let it rest under some foil for 20 minutes before slicing
To the soup!
- Strain the pork-cooking liquid and add to a clean saucepan
- Add 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce and bring to the boil, reducing depending on how much water you started with
- Add 1/2 tin of (magical) preserved vegetable
- Ladle into bowls and top with sliced spring onion
To the sauce!
Combine the following:
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sake (optional)
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
Bring to the boil and turn off the heat.
Add 1/2 cup of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon minced garlic – serve warm