Lazy Cook's Braised Pork in Soy Sauce

Tuesday 15 November 2011
I grew up eating braised pork in soy sauce. It's a dish that can be found in every Malaysian Chinese household. It's hearty, flavorful and so darn easy to make. A few slices of pork and boiled egg smothered in sweet and salty sauce goes a long way with rice. My first memory of eating this was in Sibu. During long holiday breaks, mom would send us back to Sibu on our own where the rest of her family live. We would be tagged at the airport and were considered "special passengers". Goodness, were we spoiled rotten by the flight attendants. My aunt is an incredible cook. She often single-handedly cook for 50 people. We're talking about an 8 course meal here. Grandma has always been an extrovert and thought nothing of holding grand dinners in her living room. Round tables and stools were brought in, often spilling out into the small driveway. My aunt would be in the massive kitchen boiling, frying, stirring at such speed that I was often amazed how she did it all.

Breakfast was always a grand affair whenever we were back in Sibu. In fact, the Foochows are well known for over-stuffing their guests. We're talking about 6 meals a day. I felt like a goose being force fed for my livers. When I was little, my aunt used to wake up really early to prepare this dish. She then waited for the bread man to arrive in his trishaw who would shout and blow his little horn as he rode past our street. The white steamed bread is almost triangular in shape. You then peel open the bread in the middle, scoop a spoonful of the braised pork into it and eat. I used to stuff myself silly and then feel truly sick when morning tea came around.

Braising the pork in soy sauce is ridiculously easy. The sweet, salty and spiced sauce will seep into the pieces of pork. What you get is an utterly delicious dish which requires little skill and preparation. I've had many requests for this recipe from friends. My apologies for taking so long to churn this into a proper post. Gary, a good friend of hubby and mine had pleaded with such sad puppy dog eyes for this recipe on Sunday.  How can I refuse?! So Gary, this is for you.

The original recipe came from House of Annie but I've adapted it to suit me. I've reduced the steps too as  I rarely have time to spend hours in the kitchen.




1kg pork belly, cut into cubes 
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2-3 thumb sized pieces of rock sugar
5 cloves of garlic

3-4 slices of ginger
1/8-1/4 cup water
1 stick cinnamon 

2 star anise
6 hard boiled eggs (add more or less or completely disregard it)



1. Chuck all the ingredients into a pot with the exception of eggs. Add enough water to just about cover the ingredients. 
2. Put to boil on high heat. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add the boiled eggs and continue simmering for another 30 minutes. If the sauce is looking a little dry, add a tad of water but not too much that the meat is swimming in liquid. 


  1. Ok Marlene! Seriously, you are killing me! I just got the ingredients for the lamb! {And I'm making it tomorrow!} This is DEFINITELY on my next grocery list!! It looks absolutely YUM!! Thanks for sharing all these great recipes! {I still haven't made the raspberry cake because I'm trying to be a good girl!}

    And when I was a kid, I used to sneak the rock sugar and just eat it! Probably why I don't have the best teeth!


  2. Well that dish looks wayyyyyyyyy better than the bowl of oatmeal I'm chomping on right now! HAHAHA I wish I had a bowl of that. I've noticed, no matter what culture or nationality you are... food brings people and families together. It's universal. I love a family that works together in a kitchen, has conversation and enjoys each other. I love this post. And thanks for sharing your recipe! ((HUG)) Have a great Tuesday my friend! :D

  3. My husband's favourite dish! Mine is braised pork with lots of ginger and sweet vinegar....yum yum but not too much as it's heaty!

  4. My mouth is watering!

  5. You know I have never ever cooked pork, I fear the pig! I will eat pork but I've always thought that making it tender would be beyond me. This looks delicious.

  6. two steps. Now THAT is a recipe even i can manage! I like that! =)

  7. The dish looks so good!! I love ginger and cinnamon in dishes...

  8. I'm not a fan of braised pork but this post seriously brought back some childhood memories. The sound of food sizzling in the wok, the smell and sight of food being prepared in the kitchen has been part of my growing up.

    In Singapore, Foochows are known for their Foochow fishballs...with minced meat stuffed into the fishballs :)

  9. The food in Malaysia was some of the best I've ever eaten, so I bet this is good! Makes me want to go back so bad. Yes, I pick my travel destinations largely based on food preferences :)

  10. Oh M - why must you taunt me with such a delicious looking dish? This looks amazing! My mouth is drooling right now, since I don't cook I will pass this onto my sister in law and hopefully beg her to make it for me ;) Thanks for the recipe!

  11. SassyUptownChic, I am having some oatmeal and museli now. It just makes me so hungry.

    Going to buy pork belly later for dinner tonight.

  12. OMG this looks amazing. Thanks for the recipe I have to try this.


  13. I love this dish! Real comfort food for me. When I was a kid, I'd always go for the eggs.

  14. I'm going to show this to my looks amazing. Yours truly cannot cook to save her life...I once burned rice in the rice cook..and that was my first and last time ever making it. yup...

  15. Ahhh this is such a typical Chinese dish! Looks so yummy, well done dear Marlene.

    I cooked almost exactly the same thing over the weekend, just instead of pork belly, I used pork ribs and added carrots and potatoes. ;-)

  16. Sam, you'll have to let me know how the braised lamb goes. I've banned myself from cakes for a while. I nearly fainted when I saw the number on a friend's weighing scale.

    Kim, I know what you mean. I love having friends around for a meal. It's the camaraderie and friendship while we're eating that do it for me.

    nvie, braised pork with ginger and sweet vinegar reminds me of this amazing confinement dish a friend's dad cooked for me. It was delicious but I kept forgetting to ask for the recipe. I'd love to know how to make it if you don't mind sharing.

    Lauraloo, how are you?!!! I finally got in touch with M and had a great chat. One of these days when the kids are a little older, the 3 of us should go on a trip together!

    Tabitha, would you believe me if I say that I didn't eat pork for nearly 20 years? The NZ pork has this strange odor that makes me gag. Nothing like the UK pork which tastes divine.

    bagfashionista, ahhh.... you know me. Any recipe that requires steps longer 5 is waaaaay too time consuming.

    Vale, thank you!

    Sayaka, thank you! I'm normally not a fan of cinnamon but this, I don't mind at all.

    chicology, Really??! I'd have to ask you where I can find these fishballs if I ever get the chance to visit Singapore again. I've never heard of them before. My mom used to make fishballs from mackerel and they were amazing but I don't recall ones that were stuffed with minced meat.

    skippysays, you know what? I don't miss Malaysia per se. I just miss family and food.

    Thu, LOL. You can so cook this. You literally dump everything in and boil. Conversely, I hope you managed to get your sister in law to make thisfor you.

    Cecelia, I'm so envious that you live in an Asian country. Well, think of me when you go food shopping. I managed to twist my cousin's arm to buy me laksa and rendang pastes.

    Ly, thank you! Let me know if the recipe works out ok for you.

    I-Ping, How funny! So do I. I'd eat the eggs followed by the meat. This time I got a little lazy and didn't bother with the eggs.

    Bessie, LOLOLOLOL!! I've burnt rice dozens of times. Ok, maybe not in the rice cooker because I don't own one these days. When I think back to the early days when I'd just learnt to cook, the poor victims who had to eat my concoction.

    QY, for those of us who live overseas, it's dishes like these that remind us for home.

  17. Oh yummy! I will definitely try it, my family is big on pork, and I have dinner parties coming up soon~!

  18. oh this dish never fails to satisfy! u're making me hungry marlene! for a change, i like to just slow cook pork belly with dark and light soy sauce and sugar n very little water. the sauce will be caramelised and the whole dish super yummy with plain rice!

  19. 1) In case you are interested, I had some mee siam today. And yes, I shall think of you whenever I feast on satay, mee rebus, laksa, prawn mee/fried hokkien style, hainanese chicken rice, ku lo yoke, and the list just goes on. I really admire you, I for one is a typical chinese rice gal. Guess I will slim down if I stay in the west for more than 2 weeks.

    2) Is pork belly's texture slimy? I bought the pork yesterday and the use-by date is today. It has the strong porky smell...Indonesia pork smells stronger than Australian pork? I hope it has not gone bad.

    3) By the way, I was wondering why you chose to add light soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce.

    I made some today (it's still cooking in the slow-cooker, I prefer to cook it sloowwwly) and somehow the light soy sauce is not dark enough, so I just added some dark soy sauce too. I made the dish and then I referred to House of Annie's recipe and now I understand why the garlic smell is so strong as I've removed the skin.

    I just hope that it does not turn up too salty. I cook as I goes, bad at following instructions especially some baking that requires concentration and precise measurement of ingredients.


  20. Cecelia, I can only drool when I read what you're eating over at your end of the world. *sigh* Yes, do think of me :) No, the pork belly texture should not be slimy. I normally buy really fresh meat with at least 3-4 days before the expiration date. I also prefer to buy local meat unless there are none available.

    To be honest with you, I didn't bother with dark soy sauce because I'm lazy. You get the same taste without the color. Ah yes, I should've be more specific about leaving the skin on.

  21. Well, if you stil hear from me for the next few days, that means I am not struck by food poisoning.

    Then again, I only buy food in supermarkets. And of the meat in supermarkets are imported... I too prefer to buy local produce as I'm rather concerned about carbon foodprints.



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