Red-braising is a fantastic technique you can use with any favourite meat including duck, chicken and brisket.
1 whole fresh pork hock (about 500g)
1 cup Shaoxing wine
1 large knob ginger, finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
6 shallots, whole, peeled
½ cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ cup crushed yellow rock sugar
4 whole star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
3 pieces dried tangerine peel
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
peanut oil, for deep-frying
2 tbsp sesame oil
1. Put the pork hock into a pot into which it will fit snugly. Pour in 3 litres of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the surface regularly to remove any impurities. After 30 minutes, add the Shaoxing wine, ginger and garlic and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Then add the shallots, soy sauces, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and tangerine peel. Continue to simmer for a further 1½-2 hours or until the hock is tender. Remove the pork hock from the stock and set both the hock and stock aside to cool before refrigerating separately overnight.
2. The next day, soak the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes, drain and then remove the stalks. Get the cold stock from the fridge and skim the fat, then return it to the stove. Bring to the boil and add the mushrooms.
3. In a wok, heat enough peanut oil to cover the hock during deep-frying and then fry the hock for about 10 minutes or until golden brown (this will give the hock unbelievable texture and is well worth the extra time and effort.) Transfer the hock to the stock and simmer gently for a further 25 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Raise the heat and reduce the stock to 2 cups before adding the sesame oil.
4. To serve, put the whole hock into a large bowl and ladle the sauce over it. Serve with rice and Chinese greens.