This is one of the easiest, and most versatile, Chinese-style braised dishes to make. If you're not keen on spicy food, take out the chilli and hot bean paste and just enjoy the deep black bean flavour. Make it vegetarian by replacing the pork with potatoes, tofu, sweet potato or pumpkin – or even a combination; use hoisin in place of oyster sauce and water instead of chicken stock. It will taste just as delicious.
450g organic or free-range pork belly, skin on, cut into 2cm cubes
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp fermented black beans
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes and drained
4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 red shallots, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp hot bean paste
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
350ml fresh chicken stock
1 tsp oyster sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 spring onion, julienned
1. Marinate the pork pieces in half the soy sauce for 20 minutes and soak the black beans in the Shaoxing, also for 20 minutes.
2. Remove and discard the mushroom stems and cut the mushrooms in half.
3. Heat a wok until smoking. Add half of the oil and, when hot, stir-fry the pork pieces until browned, then remove them from the wok.
4. Heat the remaining oil in the wok until just smoking, then stir-fry the black beans, red shallots, chilli, hot bean paste and garlic until fragrant.
5. Add the stock, remaining soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, mushrooms and pork pieces, and cook over low heat, covered, until the sauce reduces enough to coat the pork. This will take about an hour.
6. When the pork is tender, remove and reduce the sauce further if need be, then fold the pork back through.
7. Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle with the spring onion and serve with boiled rice.
Tip: This dish keeps very well: once it's been in the fridge, you'll be able to skim the fat off the top more easily and, on reheating, you'll find it has even more flavour.
Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.