Slow-braised pork hocks

Slow-braised pork hocks

Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Stuart Scott

We were in the northern mountains of Mae Salong, it was 2pm, and the crew were tired and hungry. I found a row of street-food stalls offering offal, offal and more offal. I was in heaven, but the others would rather go hungry! Then I saw a lady with an oversized wok slowbraising pork hocks in a lovely aromatic, amber-coloured broth. You'd think the crew would be excited, but no, they were reluctant as they had never tried it. I wasn’t taking no for an answer — and they ended up loving it so much they ate it for the next three days! Pork hock is the rear leg of the pig; it is inexpensive, robust in „flavour and has great texture. Please take the time to cook it, as it is well worth the effort.


Quantity Ingredient
2 fresh pork hocks
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
4 coriander roots, scraped clean and chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
10 white peppercorns, crushed
6 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
2 black cardamom pods, bruised
3 star anise
5 cm piece cassia bark
1 tablespoon liquid palm sugar, or shaved dark palm sugar
60ml light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 litre young coconut juice
1 handful coriander leaves
steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Chicken stock

Quantity Ingredient
1kg whole chicken
3 garlic cloves
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced


  1. First, prepare the chicken stock. Wash the chicken thoroughly under cold running water, being sure to remove all traces of blood, guts and fat from the cavity. Place the chicken in a stockpot with 3 litres water and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and skim o‘ff any impurities. Continue to skim until you have removed most of the fat. Pound the garlic and spring onion into a paste using a mortar and pestle, then add to the pot with the ginger. Cook for a further 2 hours. Strain o‘ff the stock, reserving the chicken carcass, and allow the stock to cool. Pour off‘ and reserve 1 Šlitre of the stock; refrigerate the remaining stock for up toŠ 3 days and use in other recipes, or freeze until required.
  3. Place the hocks in a saucepan with enough cold salted water to cover. Boil for 3 minutes, skimming off any impurities. Drain, wash under cold water, then drain again and pat dry.
  4. Half-‰fill a wok or large saucepan with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Add the hocks and cook for 3 —minutes on each side, or —until lightly browned. The oil can spit violently, so cover the wok with a splatter guard if the oil spits too much. Remove the hocks and drain.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the deep-frying oil in a saucepan. Stir-fry the coriander roots, garlic, peppercorns and ginger over medium–high heat until fragrant. Add the cardamom, star anise and cassia and fry for a further minute.
  6. Add the sugar, soy sauces, stock and coconut juice. Bring to the boil. Add the hocks, and a little water if needed to cover them. Bring back to the boil and skim off any impurities. Reduce the heat, slightly cover with a lid, then simmer for 3½–4 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
  7. Serve garnished with coriander, with steamed jasmine rice.
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