Braised Pork Shoulder in Caramelized Soy Sauce
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Malaysian
Adapted from Christina Arokiasamy
  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, with or without bone, cut into 2-3 pieces if it is too big to brown as a whole piece
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 4 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 fresh (or frozen) curry leaves
  • 3 2-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise (4 if you really like star anise--I reduced the amount as I do not like it to dominate)
  • 3 medium-large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 4 T double black soy sauce (can sub superior dark if need be)
  • 6 T kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • ½ t freshly ground white peppercorn
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 F.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the pork shoulder on all sides and remove to another bowl. Drain the excess oil off (leave about 1 tablespoon) and add the whole spices to the pan. Let them roast, over medium low heat, until fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium and add curry leaves to the pan--stand back as they might splatter. Add a handful of the onions to the pan--and add some water if the pan is starting to scorch. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook until the onions are starting to turn brown, then add the ginger and garlic. Adjust the heat if the it starts to scorch. Continue cooking until the onions are completely caramelized and then add the tomatoes. Cook for about one minute. Then add the soy sauces and stir to incorporate. Let cook for one minute to meld the flavors.
  3. Add the ground white peppercorn and mix. Return the pork with any juices to the pan. Turn the pork over so that it is coated with the sauce. Cover with a heavy lid and place the pan in the oven. Let cook for 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours, turn the heat up to 300 F. Take the pork out, turn it over in the pan and then cover the pork with the rest of the onions. Replace the heavy lid on to the pan and return to the oven. Cook for another hour. Take the pot out--if the pork and/or onions are not cooked enough (the pork should be falling apart and the onions should be sweet, not astringent), return to the oven and increase the heat to 325 F. Check after 30 minutes. Taste for salt and serve with jasmine rice.
Recipe by The Spiced Life at