Memories can be in the form of images, smells, emotions, thoughts… the list is endless. For me though, a favourite childhood memory is when Grandma stewed a good stab of pork shoulder, cooled it down and chopped it into small pieces. If I’m lucky, I will catch her in the right moment-just when she puts the chopper into the meat, cutting them into the right bite size pieces before pouring the lovely juices over it. Being a little kid, I can’t reach the plate, but she would save me the best pieces. Then we would giggle as I asked for more and she said “enough!” It’s like a little secret between us.
I hesitated making this dish. Perhaps because I know how much it means to me. How perhaps if I screw it up, I will be distorting the memory. And of course, to conquer my fear of tackling a huge chunk of meat.
Grandma will probably not put star anise in her sauce. She would have preferred it slightly saltier. But I’m not there to re-create what she does best. That’s her star dish and it will always be. For us, it is just sufficient to savour the taste of home. Cutting the pieces of meat into the right bite sizes. Then it hit me-I smiled. She taught me how to cook this without teaching me. That’s my grandmother for you.
Star Anise Stewed Pork with Soya Egg
1 kg of pork shoulder-trimmed with fats removed
1/4 cup of oyster sauce
1 generous tsp of castor sugar
1/4 cup of soya sauce
1/2 cup of hua tiao jiu
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of garlic
3-4 star anise
2 boiled eggs-well done
Heat a deep pot with some oil. Seal the pork shoulder. Rub it with garlic. Rest pork while all the sauces with star anise are placed in the pork and simmered. Place pork into the pot. Braise it for around 1.5 to 2 hours. Turning it over every 30 minutes or so. Cut each egg into half, place it in the pot for it to absorb the sauces. Serve with rice.