1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 kilo pork belly, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 shallots or 1 medium red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup light soy sauce
3/4 cup (125 grams) palm sugar or panocha
1 cup water
1 Tbsp fish sauce
3 pieces star anise
1 tsp five-spice powder
8 medium fresh or rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced into strips
1/3 cup chopped green onions, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
* Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add one-third of the pork and sear for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Repeat with the remaining pork. Set aside.
* In the same pan, sauté shallots until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
* Add pork, soy sauce, palm sugar, water, fish sauce, star anise, and five-spice powder. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until pork is very tender and sauce has thickened.
* Add mushrooms and one-fourth of the chopped green onions. Mix well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with remaining green onions.
(Rachelle Santos/Photo: Patrick Martires)