Winter is all about comfort food, staying indoors infront of the fireplace and dreaming of a warm holiday somewhere overseas. Well, that’s almost how it is in this household anyway. The comfort food is pretty accurate, the fireplace hasn’t been used properly for about a year so it’s just the no-maintenance gas heater these days and the warm overseas holiday is still a couple of months away. Memories of my last trip overseas are mere dregs right now but I still vividly remember the food I thoroughly enjoyed such as the delicious and simple pork & soya bean stew at Yiwu Trade City.
With this memory still in mind and our recent visit to Cabramatta where I picked up a strip of cured pork belly at Hunan Smallgoods, I put my Chinese clay pot to good use and concocted this delicious winter-warming meal. This is not something you can easily whip up after work. Beans need overnight soaking and simmering and then a further 5 hours is needed for overall slow-cooking. The end result is rich and nourishing and very tasty, if I do say so myself!
Drain the soaked soya beans and put into a saucepan, top up with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours or until almost cooked. Scrape off any scum and set the beans aside, leaving in the water.
Preheat oven to 170°C.
In a clay pot or oven-proof casserole with lid, put in remaining ingredients, the cooked beans and liquid and top up with more water to cover well. Place in the oven and cook for 5 hours, checking every hour to stir and make sure there is still liquid covering the ingredients. Add more water if needed.
Serve with rice, steamed asian greens or just have it on its own.