4 tablespoons sugar or 2 blocks Chinese rock sugar
4 cm ginger-sliced
1 whole garlic-cut into 2 halves
2 eschalots (or red shallots), roughly chopped
1 Star Anise
2 Dried Chilies
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Extra: finely sliced ginger and spring onion for garnish
Cut pork into 3.5cm width strips. (You’ll get 4 to 5 strips out of 1-1.2kg)
In a heavy base pot, heat oil. Add ginger, shallots and garlic. Stir until aromatics become fragrant. Add star anise and chilli. Stir for further 30 seconds or so. Gently add strained balsamic vinegar, water, sugar and soy.
Bring stock to a gentle boil. Add pork, skin up, making sure all the meat is covered in stock. Add some more water if necessary. It can be reduced down later. Bring it back to a gentle boil again, then turn down heat as low as possible. Let simmer for 1½ hours. Skim the top layer of oil occasionally.
With last 15 minutes of cooking remaining, gently lift out all the meat into a bowl, taking care not to break any of the meat. Cover with cling wrap immediately.
Start reducing the stock by returning it to a boil. Stir occasionally. When you reached a thick slurry, or just dripping slowly off a spoon, it’s ready. It should have a glossy appearance. Most of the acid from the Balsamic Vinegar should be cooked off by now, leaving a sweet, with only a hint of acid flavour. Turn off heat completely. Sauce will thicken more when cooled a bit.
Slice pork diagonally into bite size pieces, flatten with side of knife. Plate cut pork on a flat platter. Drizzle sauce over pork. For a rustic finish, include some of the unbroken down bits of aromatics. Garnish with finely sliced fresh ginger and spring onion. Serve immediately with piping hot mash or steamed rice.