Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Pork hock:

  • 1 pork hock (from the hind leg), about 800g 
  • 7L water  
  • 1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stems spring onion
  • 2 tbsp star anise
  • 2 cups Shaoxing wine
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • ½ cup rock sugar
  • 2 cups cornflour
  • 1L + 2 tbsp canola oil

Chilli caramel:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp coarse chilli powder or chilli flakes

To finish:

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small knob ginger, chopped
  • 1 bird‘s-eye chilli, chopped
  • Sichuan peppercorns and dried chillies (to taste)
  • 1 spring onion, chopped

Method:

Pork hock: 

1. In a large saucepan, bring the pork hock and 3L water to a boil. Remove the hock and rinse under cold water.

2. Place the hock back in a clean pot and fill with 4L water. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the cornflour and oil) and bring to a very slow simmer.

3. Cook for 90 mins, or until the meat falls off the bone. Take out the hock and gently remove the bones.

4. Tightly roll the hock in cling film (it should resemble a sausage) and chill for at least 3 hours. Once the hock has cooled and set, unwrap and dice into bite-sized pieces.

Chilli caramel: 

1. Put the soy and vinegar in a saucepan and heat. Make a dry caramel by adding the sugar. When it reaches a golden brown colour, turn down the heat.

2. Add the chilli powder/flakes and whisk well, then immediately add the hot soy and vinegar mixture. Don’t let the chilli burn and be careful when adding the liquid to the hot caramel as it will spit.

3. Turn the heat back up and keep whisking until the sugar has completely dissolved.

To finish: 

1. In a large saucepan, heat 1L canola oil to 170°C.

2. Dust the diced pork in cornflour and shake off any excess.

3. Deep-fry the pork for 3-4 mins, or until light brown and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper. Strain the oil for use at a later time.

4. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp oil until it starts to smoke.

5. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and bird‘s-eye chilli and cook until fragrant. Add the dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns and toast until lightly coloured.

6. Add the fried pork pieces and a good pinch of sea salt, give it a good toss and add in the chopped spring onion to finish.

7. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with the chilli caramel.

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