I’m a man who has eaten his fair share of pork dishes over the years, and this Burmese Pork Stew recipe from my favourite restaurant in Portland, Tasty n’ Sons, is among my favourites. It’s spicy, sweet, and beautifully rich, so there was never a question as to whether I would try it myself at home.
I thought recreating it would involve a lot of painstaking trial and error (which might have been fun too), but instead I found the exact recipe had been published in Bon Appetit.
I should warn you that there is a bit of fidgety prep – multiple pots and pans, and even a bit of work the day before involved in pulling off this dish, but it’s nothing you all can’t handle. Not to mention the result is soooo worth it. This dish could easily be a substitute for viagra, but don’t blame me, or Tasty n’ Sons, for any poor decisions made while under the influence of Burmese Pork Stew.
Broken down to the basics, this dish is a sweet and spicy braised pork shoulder and belly, topped with chopped pickled eggs, served over rice. I rarely copy a recipe word for word, but I enjoyed this so much in Portland that I didn’t want to monkey around with it. The only thing I changed was to use 3 pounds of pork shoulder instead of 2 pound shoulder and 1 pound of belly. Oh, and I ran out of soya sauce for the pickled eggs, so I topped up my quantity with ponzu instead. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe as follows:
Burmese Pork Stew
Make these Pickled Eggs the day before:
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 whole star anise
5 large hard-boiled eggs
Place eggs in a jar. Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil on the stove and pour over the eggs. Chill in the fridge over night.
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp chili oil
2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb skinless pork belly, cut into 1″ cubes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped and peeled ginger
3 tbsp hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup chopped scallions
White rice for 6
Whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili oil in a medium bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. Cover and chill 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat vegetable oil in a large ovenproof skillet. (I used my roasting pan) Sear pork on all sides in batches, and set aside.
Skim any fat remaining in the pan. (I had very little)
Return pork to pan and add any remaining marinade. (again, I had almost nothing left in the bowl).
Add garlic, ginger, and chili paste.
Meanwhile, stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-low heat until dissolved. Increase heat to med-high and boil syrup until deep amber colour is achieved. Be careful not to burn the sugar.
Pour caramel over the pork mixture and add 1/2 cup of water to the caramel pan and swirl to dissolve any remaining caramel.
Pour caramel water over pork and stir to combine all ingredients.
Cover tightly and bake until pork is very tender, stirring every 30 minutes. This should take approximately 1:45.
Add a portion of rice to a bowl, cover with pork, and top with coarsely chopped pickled egg and scallion.
If you’re a fan of sweet and salty dishes, you certainly need to give this one a whirl. You’ll be glad you did.