Penang may be one of the cities known for its tau yu bak but it is the Malaysian/Singaporean region which is popular for this braised pork in soy sauce dish. The main ingredient of this dish is light soy sauce. Light soy sauce is known as ‘tau yu’ while pork is called ‘bak’ in Hokkien, one of the many Chinese dialects. That is how this dish came up with its name. Tau yu bak may be deemed as a simple soy sauce dish but with the additional herbs and spices, Coupled with hard boiled eggs which are infused with the awesome gravy, this is an exceptionally flavourful dish.
Tau yu bak can be prepared in slow cooker. Simply add all ingredients to the slow cooker and add enough water to cover to ingredients. Allow the dish to cook for at least 4 hours at low heat. This would apply for both chicken and pork. Do stir the dish every now and then for the flavours to get incorporated in the dish evenly.
To get rid of the uncomfortable smell of boar taint, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Then, add a few slices of ginger and pork into the pot. Once water begins to boil again, remove pork and set aside for cooking tau yu bak.
Traditionally, pork belly is a favourite when cooking tau yu bak. As the pork belly cooks, the oil that melts from the fats are meant to give the extra flavours to the dish. I would also recommend pork butt/pork shoulders if you prefer more meat compared to pork belly.
The only way for tender and succulent tau yu bak is to cook the dish over very low heat. That way, pork gets to be cooked very slowly.
This dish must be simmered long enough to ensure that the pork is tender and the flavours of all the ingredients are totally infused. 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 delicious dish especially if sambal belacan is used as a dip. It is totally awesome!
Tau Yu Bak is also known as: Braised Pork with Soy Sauce
Coat pork with dark soy sauce evenly. Pan fry pork without oil over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Toast whole garlic in oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant at 200 degrees Celsius. Then, add cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, garlic, ginger slices, pepper and five-spice powder to pork.
Add soy sauce and mix well. After 30 minutes, add rock sugar. If the dish is too dry, add a tablespoon of water.
Once sugar melts and thickens, add enough hot water to cover pork. Add hard-boiled eggs. Cook dish at medium heat for at least 1 hour or until meat is tender. Serve with 'sambal belacan'.