This rich and fragrant dish would go well with salt and pepper tofu, a crisp cucumber salad and steamed rice.
- 25g/1oz whole dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 small bunch spring onions, one thinly sliced, the rest cut into 4cm/1½in lengths
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 star anise
- 1 piece cassia bark
- 800g/1lb 12oz pork belly (ideally a 5-layered cut – skin/fat/meat/fat/meat), cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
Soak the mushrooms in boiling water for 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large lidded saucepan over a medium-high heat. Fry the lengths of spring onion with the ginger, garlic, star anise and cassia bark for 3–4 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add the pork and cook until it starts to brown. (Fry in batches, if necessary).
Add the rice wine, soy sauces, sugar, mushrooms and their soaking liquid and enough water to cover the pork. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1½–2 hours, or until the pork is really tender and falling apart.
Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook uncovered over a high heat for 10–15 minutes until the volume of the sauce reduces by half and is thick and syrupy.
Adjust the seasoning to taste, scatter with the sliced spring onion and serve with steamed rice.