"This is my ideal death-row meal. It encompasses everything I love about Chinese cuisine," says Lee Ho Fook's Victor Liong. "Like a pot-au-feu, this is a steadying broth that can host tofu and an array of meats; my favourites are pork belly, pork offal and game birds, served with loads of hot rice. The best part about a masterstock is that once you're done, you strain it and freeze it, then use it the next time you braise; it adds layers of complexity."
- 300 gm firm tofu, cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 400 gm piece of pork belly
- 8 chicken wingettes
- 4 eggs
- Steamed rice, pickled mustard greens and coriander (optional), to serve
- 6 pieces dried licorice root (see note)
- 1 black cardamon pod, bruised
- 2 pieces cassia bark
- 6 star anise
- 8 cloves
- 2 pieces dried sand ginger (optional; see note)
- 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 30 gm ginger, thinly sliced
- 50 gm spring onions, cut into 4cm lengths
- 700 ml chicken stock
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) light soy sauce
- 250 ml (1 cup) dark soy sauce
- 200 gm rock sugar (see note), crushed
- 200 gm Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbsp rose wine (optional; see note)
- 1For masterstock, tie spices up in a muslin bundle. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add ginger and spring onion and cook until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and spice bundle, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until flavours combine (30 minutes).
- 2Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Blanch tofu for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- 3Add pork belly to boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes, drain, and refresh in cold water to rinse off surface proteins (this will help keep the masterstock clear). Repeat with wingettes.
- 4Cook eggs in a saucepan of simmering water over medium heat until soft-boiled (8 minutes). Refresh in cold water, then peel.
- 5Add blanched pork, chicken and tofu to masterstock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer, covered with a lid, until meats are just tender, adding eggs in the last 5 minutes (40 minutes).
- 6Remove pork and chicken from stock and rest for 1 minute. Slice pork 1cm thick, cut eggs in half, and serve on a platter with chicken wingettes and tofu. Ladle a little masterstock over the top and serve with rice, pickled greens and coriander.
Chicken wingettes are available from select butchers. Sand ginger (zedoary), licorice root, rock sugar and rose wine (also known as mei kuei lu chiew) are available from select Asian supermarkets.