Braised Pork with Sea Cucumber 红烧猪肉海参

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I love braised pork trotters to bits but also knowing that it’s pretty sinful, I would usually request more of the leaner parts of the meat whenever possible. But even then, there would quite be a limited amount of it and I always felt that it wasn’t enough to satisfy.  Hence, when I decided to prepare this dish once again, I make do with a whole huge chunk of fresh pork collar that I’ve ordered from PurelyFresh and together with some sea cucumber, I sent it for braising and the portion kept me happily satisfied for two days in consecutive.

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As you know, braised products are always more flavored the longer you had it cooked, especially on the second day. Plus, because there isn’t any bones that comes with pork collar which comprises of a good combination of lean meat and fats, this is literal a dish that’s so comforting and easy with some rice.  

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I guess everyone loves a comfort zone, and so do I. And having been in that for quite a while already, I realized I finally have to get out of it and hence, I signed up for a Certificate course in Baking with the SkillsFuture credit. It is gonna be a full 8-hour thingy on every Saturdays and my weekends could literally be burnt from now. But taking up such a course has always been part of the plans but wasn’t determined enough to really get down to doing it before this. So this time, I do hope I am able to preserve through and eventually attained some formal certification in something that I really enjoyed and able to pursue and not just seeing it as a hobby or pastime.

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And presenting the Braised Pork With Sea Cucumber in this Floral Coronet design serveware from Corelle once more !! For someone who has a penchant for anything Zakka style, these have to be my happiest collection of serveware from Corelle by far.

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Oh yes, on a simple tip for braising the sea cucumber. If you are using fresh sea cucumber like I do, be sure to add in the sea cucumber for braising only 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Otherwise, the sea cucumber will just “disintegrate and dissolve” till nothing !! And for today’s braising, I applied a cook, steamed and braised method, a more elaborate way than usual. But I do felt the end result yields a more tender and luscious pork collar that’s kept moist with the flavors penetrating well throughout the cooking.

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And guess what, instead of rice, you can also enjoy the Braised Pork with Sea Cucumber on a “korean” style by wrapping them in some fresh lettuce too !! Enjoy !! ^-^

Braised Pork with Sea Cucumber 红烧猪肉海参
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 pc pork collar, approx 500g
  • 1 pc fresh sea cucumber, approx. 300g
  • 4-5 pcs shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch

For the Seasoning I:
  • 3 bunches spring onion
  • 3 thick slices ginger
  • 2 whole garlics, crushed
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • Enough water to cover the pork + 1 cup (mine was approx. 1,2L)

  • For the Seasoning II:
  • 50ml dark soya sauce (I recommend Guang Xiang Tai brand)
  • 50g rock sugar
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soya sauce)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Heat up 1 pot of water and allow it to boil. Add in the pork collar and scald it in the boiling water for approximately 3-4 minutes. This can help to remove the impurities and excess oils from the pork. Rinse and drain well.
  2. In another deeper pot, add approx. 1.2L of water together with all Seasonings I. Allow it to boil before blanching the sea cucumber for approx. 2 minutes.
  3. Drain the sea cucumber well and cut it into thick slices.
  4. With the same pot of water, add in the blanched pork collar from Step 1 and allow the pork to be cooked in it for approx. 1 hour. Make sure the water is sufficient to fully submerge the pork.
  5. Remove the pork and place it in a smaller heatproof bowl or pot together with the mushrooms (if using). Add in all the Seasonings II together with around 900ml-1L of water from the pork cooking broth from the previous step. Make sure your bowl or pot is deep enough to accommodate this volume of broth after adding in all the seasonings as well.
  6. Cover the smaller bowl or pot and place it in a larger wok for steaming.
  7. Make sure you add in enough water to allow the pork to be steamed for a further 2 hours.
  8. Remove the heatproof pot/bowl and put it directly over the flame (make sure your pot can be used to put over the naked flame directly !). On low heat, allow the pork to be cooked for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust accordingly with more water, sugar or dark soya sauce. Add in the sea cucumber and tapioca starch. Allow both the pork and sea cucumber to be braised for a further 15-20 minutes for the sea cucumber to turn even softer, but not to the extent of disintegration.
  9. Remove from flame and serve with some fresh lettuce as desired.
Notes
If using fresh sea cucumber, do not braise it for too long, otherwise it will disintegrate and dissolve till nothing. Keep watch on it while braising and remove from heat once it has softened to a Q texture as desired.

 

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