Stewed Pork Belly with Potatoes and Shitake

This is my 2nd attempt at babi pongteh. It's inched towards a more authentic taste of the nonya classic, but it still requires a fair bit of improvement. On the upside, the Hubs pointed out that, in my attempt to make this more like babi pongteh, it's ended up a better tau yu bak. So until I get a truly authentic flavour of babi pongteh, I'll just keep chronicling my attempts right here as "braised/stewed pork".

Ingredients (feeds 6):
1 kg pork belly, sliced chunky, blanched in boiling water, trimmed off any hair and marinated in thick black soya for at least 1 hour (best if overnight)
10 shitake, sliced roughly
4 potatoes, diced into 1" cubes
50gm shallots, pounded finely
80gm garlic, pounded finely
4 tbsp heaps taucheo
2 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp thick black soy
80gm gula melaka
6 cups water
1 tbsp frying oil
1 tbsp sesame oil

1) Fry shallots in frying oil-sesame oil combi on low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2) Add garlic and fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3) Add taucheo and fry till intensely fragrant, semi-dry and colour changes into a deeper caramel, about 3 minutes.

4) Add light and dark soy.

5) Add mushrooms and fry till water released, about 1 minute.

6) Add pork and fry for about 1 minute.

7) Deglaze with about 6 cups water and add gula melaka.

8) Increase fire to bring the stew to a roaring boil, before lowering to a medium fire, and simmer for 30 minutes till pork is fork-tender. Add potatoes and simmer for another 10-15 minutes to cook through and soften.

9) Top with freshly cut green chillis and serve with homemade sambal belachan.

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