Pork with Yam – Woo Thau Khau Yoke
Pork with Yam is another famous Hakka dish. My last pork recipe and is also known as Khau Yoke. The star ingredient is the pork and it is sort of braised. Instead of using preserved vegetable, this one uses YAM or Taro. This is a root vegetable that has a tough leathery, hairy skin and the flesh has purple flecks. It is a common root vegetable in Asia. There are many varieties of yam, and this type is the large type that grows in wet areas. I use frozen taro and it comes nicely skinned and sliced. There is actually no difference in the taste compared with fresh taro.
My mother rarely cooked this dish, but I remember helping her in a few occasions. I find that by tying the pork into a roll, it fits the shape of the yam. You can actually tie it so that it is of a similar circumference. When I cooked this, the meat was actually 750g. So I increased the ingredients to 1.5 times. Common sense. So here is the recipe. My family likes it and the comment was it was really nice. It is best served with rice and some vegetables.
500g belly pork ( try to get it with very thin layers of fat )
500g yam or taro, peeled and cut into 1 cm thickness
1/4 tsp 5 spice powder
2 spring onions (white part)
2 shallots – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
½ tbsp sugar 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cube nam yee / red fermented beancurd
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp sesame oil
Dash of pepper
250ml (cup) hot water
Extra hot water
½ tbsp tapioca/ corn flour for corn starch
Lettuce leaves Spring onion – sliced or chopped
You will also need:
Strings to tie the meat A large piece of aluminium cooking foil.
- Shape the pork belly into a roll and tie it securely with strings, like you would do a pork roast. This way, the shape of the pork is round and it fits well with the shape of the yam, so there is no wastage.
- Parboil belly pork in boiling water together with cooking wine, ginger and spring onions for 20 minutes. Remove and pat dry .Rub the skin with the dark soya sauce and the meat with 5 spice powder.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying. Deep-fry the belly pork, skin side down until light golden. Remove and soak for 1/2 hour in cold water to cool. Slice pork into 1cm thick pieces and dust with tapioca flour. Make sure you retain the shape of the pork for easy assembly.
- Deep fry taro slices till golden. Drain well and dust with tapioca flour.
To make the sauce:
- Heat wok with a tbsp oil. Sauté shallots and garlic, add in nam yee .
- Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then switch off the fire.
- Tear a large sheet of cooking foil and fold into 2. Shape the foil into a boat- shaped container with a handle. Make sure that it is deep enough to hold the pork and the yam, and should fit into the crock pot.
- Arrange a piece of the sliced pork with a piece of yam. Alternate the pieces until you use up all the yam and pork. Make sure it fits snuggly in the foil boat. I actually tie the yam and pork pieces together with strings to retain the shape and for easy handling.
- ( alternatively, if you have a big crock pot: Use a deep dish or a Chinese soup bowl, arrange a piece of pork slice and alternate with a piece of fried taro. Repeat with the rest of the pork and taro. Make sure they are packed snuggly in the dish/bowl.)
- Pour 1/2 cup hot water into the crock pot.
- Carefully place the container into the crock pot. Add the sauce into the crock pot (it doesn’t matter if it spills out of the container.)
- Cook on high settting for at least 3 hours or 5 hours on low setting.
- When done, remove the container and carefully transfer the pork onto a serving platter lined with lettuce leaves. Remove the strings.
- Pour out all the sauce into a pan. Adjust the taste, and if it is bit dry , add some water. Heat up and thicken with the corn starch
- Pour over the pork and garnish with the spring onions.