Pork belly hot pot with clams and garlic shoots

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

I love the consistency and flavour of Chinese hot pots, and slow-cooked pork belly really gives a delicious soft texture to the meat, while absorbing the flavour of the spices. The combination of pork and shellfish is common in many countries and the sweetness of the garlic shoots makes a perfect and subtle combo. Pork belly can be quite wintery but this way of cooking it is more seasonal.

I love the consistency and flavour of Chinese hot pots, and slow-cooked pork belly really gives a delicious soft texture to the meat, while absorbing the flavour of the spices. The combination of pork and shellfish is common in many countries and the sweetness of the garlic shoots makes a perfect and subtle combo. Pork belly can be quite wintery but this way of cooking it is more seasonal.

1kg pork belly, boned, rind removed and cut into rough 6cm x 4cm chunks
Plain flour for dusting
2tbsp sesame oil
50g root ginger, scraped and finely chopped
1 star anise
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp Chinese five-spice powder
50ml light soy sauce
1.5 litre beef stock
10-15g cornflour
Salt and pepper

to serve

200g palourde clams, washed well
120g garlic shoots, cut into 4-5cm lengths
A few sprigs of coriander, washed

Lightly flour the pieces of pork belly. Heat one tablespoon of sesame oil in a thick-bottomed frying pan, quickly colour the pieces of pork on a high heat on all sides then remove and drain any fat off. Meanwhile in another pan, large enough to fit the pork, bring the ginger, star anise, garlic, five-spice, soy and the beef stock to the boil, add the pork, cover and simmer gently for 2-21/2 hours, skimming off the fat every so often, until the pork is very tender. If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add enough water to stop the meat drying out.

Mix the cornflour with a little water and stir enough of it into the stock to make a thick gravy-like consistency and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Put the clams and garlic shoots in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and lightly season. Cover with a lid and cook on a high heat, shaking the pan every so often for 3-4 minutes until all the clams have opened. Discard those that stay shut. Drain any liquid into the pork sauce and transfer the pork into a serving dish. Spoon the clams and garlic shoots on top and scatter over a few sprigs of coriander. Eat with rice or noodles.

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