Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang) has a malty, smoky flavour. It’s available from Waitrose or any Asian food shop, but use balsamic vinegar if you prefer. Make this the night before for the best flavour (and less stress on the day!).
1.5kg/3lb 5oz pork shoulder, cut into 4cm/11/2in pieces
3 tbsp soy sauce
200ml/7fl oz Shaohsing rice wine (or dry Sherry)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5cm/2in piece ginger, peeled and julienned
50g/2oz light brown soft sugar
3 tbsp oyster sauce
125ml/4fl oz Chinese black vinegar
500ml/18fl oz vegetable stock
FOR THE PICKLED CHILLIES
1 long or 2 bird’s-eye red chillies, sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
75ml/21/2fl oz rice wine vinegar
toasted sesame seeds
julienned spring onions
Put the pork in a bowl and add 1 tbsp each of the soy sauce and rice wine. Toss to combine, then cover and chill for 1 hr, or overnight if time permits.
To make the pickled chillies, put the chilli, shallot and rice vinegar in a small bowl with a big pinch of salt, and let stand for 1 hr or more.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavybased saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2-3 mins or until golden. Add the pork and all the remaining ingredients, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 mins. Remove the lid from the pan to allow the liquid to reduce, and cook for a further 45 mins or until the meat falls apart.
Serve scattered with the sesame seeds and spring onions, with steamed rice and the pickled chillies on the side.