September 25, 2018 — Asian
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750g belly pork
1000ml chicken stock
250ml Shaoxing wine
100ml dark soy sauce
60ml plum sauce
1 tbs palm sugar
1 onion sliced
3 garlic cloves crushed
30g sliced ginger unpeeled
8cm stick of cinnamon
2 star anise
8 Sichuan peppercorns
4 white peppercorns
2 bay leaves
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Many years ago, I often ate in an Asian cafe called Fusebox Kitchen. Tucked away on Stoney Street in in London’s Borough Market, it had the allure—for those in the know—of an undiscovered gem. Alas, it’s long since gone, replaced by the much swankier Wright Brothers Oyster Bar. Fusebox may have been so-called because it offered fusion cooking, but it might also have been about its ability to fuse together a bit of everything: part shop, part community centre and part restaurant and take away. It was an honest and unpretentious centre for the celebration of food. Naturally, as a food lover, I would regularly visit and browse through their produce and cooking equipment. However, despite the eclectic business model, and as the name suggests, the main action revolved around the idea of a kitchen. Along one side of the interior was a serving and preparation area and counter. However, perhaps in true Oriental style the actual kitchen appeared to be in the basement, from where food was carried up the stairs and transferred to the servery. The sitting area was an uncompromising cluster of utilitarian benches and tables, designed to be shared, and certainly comfortable enough to scoff a quick meal during a lunch break. It was always busy at lunchtime, bustling with crowds and queues—it gave the place the feel of an artisans’ canteen.
The menu was diverse and appetising. But for regular customers, the Fusebox was all about how the specials were repeated on specific days of the week. This meant you could plan to visit on the day they were cooking your favourite lunch. Monday may have been pad Thai, Tuesday could have been nasi goreng (see dad’s nasi goreng recipe here), but Wednesday was always belly pork. A big bowl of hot, chunky succulent pork served on rice. Sadly, I cannot recall if the skin was crispy or soft and unctuous. Either way, it was delicious and very filling and one of my best-kept secret pleasures. I never shared the secret—or the guilt of eating so much belly pork—with anybody else.
These days, I can make pretty good braised belly pork myself, but if I’m not sitting in Fusebox on a Wednesday lunchtime, it’s never quite the same…
To make my braised pork belly follow the steps below:
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