1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 kg pork shoulder steaks, each cut into 4 thick strips
3 onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved
3 Thai red chillies, 2 sliced, 1 left whole and pricked
3 star anise
100 g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp fish sauce
600 ml chicken stock
350 g fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish. Season the pork, and brown it in 2 or 3 batches until golden, about 5 mins per batch. Set aside in a bowl. Stir the onions into the remaining fat, cover and soften for 5 mins – they will take on the browned colour of the meat. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan.
- Add the garlic, coriander stalks, chillies and anise to the dish, sizzle for 1 min, stirring often, then mix in the sugar and tomato purée. When these have melted and it looks a bit like barbecue sauce, return the pork and its resting juices to the dish, along with the fish sauce and stock. Tuck in the pineapple chunks here and there.
- Once simmering, cover the hotpot, leaving a small gap for steam to escape, and transfer to the oven for 2 hrs. With 30 mins to go, skim some of the fat from the top (this tends to seal the liquid in, making it more difficult for the sauce to reduce), then return to the oven. The pork will be meltingly soft when ready. If the sauce is thin, lift the pork into a warmed serving dish, put the casserole dish on the hob and simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened. Leave to cool for 5 mins, taste for seasoning, pour over the pork and sprinkle over the coriander leaves.