Asian Slow-cooked Pork with Ginger and Sweet Soy  

It’s surprising how often I turn to Rick Stein’s Asian recipes. They are easy to do, and the results are reliably good. This is one such staple. As a family we like pork, it’s way more interesting than chicken, and is actually not as unhealthy as people think it is. Lean pork, has the same amount of fat as chicken breast, and is far tastier.

All this recipe needs is time, so it’s not for the evening when you are rushing to put dinner on the table. But it doesn’t need much attention, once you have everything in the pan.

Stir-fried cabbage & sprouts

Eat it with some Jasmine rice & stir fried greens. Bliss!

A word about the ingredients:

Pork shoulder  –  this is a relatively inexpensive cut, and is suited to slow cooking. If you chose quicker cooking cuts like tenderloin, convert the recipe to a stir-fry, and scale the sauces back. The result will be good, but the flavours won’t be as deep and intense.

Kecap manis – You definitely need to use kecap manis, which is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce, made with palm sugar. It’s key in this dish so don’t substitute. You won’t regret getting a good bottle of the stuff – it lasts forever, and is excellent for Nasi Goreng (an Indonesian style fried rice), for stir-fried noodles, etc.

Dark soy sauce – The dark soy sauce needs to be authentic. I say that because I bought a local brand here in London, and it was completely wrong. Dark soy is meant to slightly thick and not too salty, with caramel undertones. However what I got was a bad salty version of Japanese soy. This recipe relies on the sauces to get the flavour right, so do find a good Chinese brand to buy.

Tamarind paste – You can blocks of dried tamarind from Indian stores, but it’s a fair amount of work to use, and ready made tamarind paste is a good shortcut. I find the Asian brands less sour than the Indian ones, so adjust the quantity depending the brand you are using. Taste the paste to judge, and taste the dish at the end. It should have a slight tang.

Chillies – the recipe calls for both fiery bird’s eye chillies and milder long chillies. Deseed and use if you want a less spicy end result.

Garlic – Don’t be alarmed by the large quantity of garlic. It cooks down and mellows in the slow-cooking process.

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Asian Slow-cooked Pork with Ginger and sweet soy  
This dish requires a little preparation, and needs about one & half hours or so to cook, but doesn't need much once you get it going barring an occasional stir. Most ingredients are store cupboard. It uses an excellent inexpensive cut of pork to great effect, and is also perfect to make ahead and reheat. Someone in the family is always happy to take any leftovers to school/work the next day, so that says it all!
Cuisine Oriental
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 1 hr 30 min
Cuisine Oriental
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 1 hr 30 min
  1. Heat oil in large heavy frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions or shallots ad fry until they are soft and golden. Add the crushed garlic, ginger and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the pork cubes and fry for 2-3 minutes until the pork starts browning on the outside.
  4. Add the kecap manis, dark soy, tamarind paste, chillies and pepper and stock. Cover and leave to simmer on a medium low heat for about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 45 minutes, until the pork is fork tender, i.e. you should be able to cut the pork with a fork. Towards the end, if the pork isn't cooked thoroughly, and is looking dry, add some water and continue to cook.
  6. If there's liquid left over once the pork is cooked, increase the heat to rapidly boil the sauce down, until it coats the pork, and looks thickened, shiny and dark brown. Check salt and season with more if needed.
  7. Sprinkle the pork with the fried shallots and serve hot with some steamed rice and greens.
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2 Replies to “Asian Slow-cooked Pork with Ginger and Sweet Soy  ”

  1. Drool inducing!! Please post a chinese greens’ recipe with suggested variations to accompany this delight. Which brands of soy, kecap manis would you suggest in Singapore? Worried too about the sodium and sugar content of these products. What are your thoughts?

    1. For soy sauce – For Japanese recipes Kikkoman naturally brewed is the best. For Chinese, I have been happy with Lee Kum kee, premium soy sauce. They do all have sodium and some preservative but are MSG free. The sodium doesn’t bother me as the quantity of the sauces one uses is quite small. Also, there’s no further salt added to the recipe so it does compensate. For Kecap manis, I have “ABC” brand, which doesn’t have MSG (some do so do check the ingredient label).
      Hope that helps! Will post a chinese greens recipe soon.

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