This Malaysian classic was one of my favourite dishes growing up, and I still remember the first time I saw my dad make it in a slow cooker. We put it on in the morning and then when we got home later it was ready. I can't have been more than eight years old, and to me it seemed like magic.
10 dried shiitake mushrooms
80g dried black fungus (optional)
2kg pork belly, cut into 5cm cubes
¼ cup castor sugar
½ cup Cheong Chan caramel sauce
1 cup light soy sauce
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small bulb garlic, unpeeled
steamed rice, to serve
sambal belacan, to serve
1. Rinse the mushrooms and black fungus (if using) quickly in cold water and then cover with 2 cups of hot water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until they are just soft enough to snip off the tough stalks with kitchen scissors.
2. Discard the stalks of both the shiitake and black fungus and place the caps and the liquid they're steeping in into your slow cooker.
3. Place the pork in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for five minutes. Drain the pork and rinse away any scum clinging to the surface. Place the pork in your slow cooker.
4. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the eggs. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then drain and peel. Transfer the eggs to the slow cooker as well. Add the sugar, caramel sauce, soy sauce, anise, cinnamon and garlic and 1 extra cup of water. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 5 hours, stirring occasionally if you can.
5. Serve the pork with steamed rice and a little sambal belacan.