Tau Yu Bak or braised pork in soy sauce is more popular in Malaysia and Singapore although Penang is well known for it. The dish is also popular among the Peranakan and Teochew community. This recipe’s main ingredient is soy sauce, both light and thick dark soy sauce. In Hokkien, light soy sauce is known as ‘tau yu’ while pork is called ‘bak’. That is how the dish got its name. Tau yu bak may be deemed as a simple soy sauce dish but do not underestimate its taste. The additional herbs, spices and hard boiled eggs which are infused with the awesome gravy make it an exceptional amazing dish.
Why this recipe?
The best Tau Yu Bak recipe has got to have tender pork pieces with a savoury saucy gravy. The gravy is pleasantly intense. It’s the combination of the dark and thick soy sauce along with the light soy sauce.
Important soy sauce notes
I’ve always used the caramel thick dark soy sauce which has an almost honey like consistency. It is a must in this dish. It’s more commonly found in Malaysia and sometimes, Singapore. If it’s not available near you, use the liquid dark soy sauce but you may need more than one tablespoon. I recommend marinating the pork with one tablespoon and add another tablespoon or more for the additional ‘tau yu’.
Another possible substitute is sweet soy sauce. If you use this, you can reduce or omit rock sugar.
Get rid of the boar taint
To get rid of the unpleasant smell of boar taint, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Then, add the pork together with a few slices of ginger into the pot. Once water begins to boil again, remove the pork and set aside.
Best pork cut for Tau Yu bak
Traditionally, pork belly is the favourite choice when it comes to cooking Tau Yu Bak. As the pork belly cooks, the fats melt and enhance the flavour of the dish. However, choose pork butt/pork shoulders if you prefer more meat.
Tips for tender pork
The only way for tender and succulent meat is to simmer the dish over very low heat. This will ensure that the flavours of the ingredients and the pork are properly infused together.
Cooking tau yu bak in slow cooker
Tau yu bak can be prepared in a slow cooker. Add all ingredients into the slow cooker and ensure enough water to cover the ingredients. Allow the dish to cook for at least 4 hours at low heat. This applies whether chicken or pork is used. Stir the dish every now and then for the flavours to be incorporated evenly.
Replace pork with chicken
Instead of pork, chicken meat may be used as a substitute. Use chicken thighs for best results.
Trust me, you can never get enough of this awesome dish especially if raw sambal belacan is used as a dipping sauce.