What the heck is it?
For most that see this recipe it”s not Kau Yuk as much as Kau “YUCK”. Fatty belly pork (uncured bacon) cooked three times, in three separate ways, to make the fat appear meaty. Flavored with a fermented red bean curd.
It’s one of my husband’s favorite comfort foods that I will only make for him maybe once a year. Not a healthy fair but if you are from Hawaii, you will appreciate this rendition which is more natural and not enhanced with red food dye. So, if the photo seems a bit pale and not as red as you are used to. Don’t adjust. That’s simply the way it looks when you make it without the enhancers.
Kau Yuk is one of those dishes that’s made with LOVE. Mostly because you have to love it which is an acquired taste and you have to truly LOVE IT to go through the process to make it. It’s not difficult to make so much as there are a lot of steps along with one disgusting $1.50 product that you will never use again with the exception of three cubes for this dish or if you are feeling ambitious you will use it to make char siu before it expires. So, if you are having a hankering for Kau Yuk. Bust the bank and buy the whole bottle of fermented red bean curd to make this dish and either toss out the bottle right then and there or let it have a slow death in your fridge until you clean it out and actually toss it out with reason.
1 pound uncured pork belly, it will look like a slab of uncut bacon
3 Tblsp. oil for frying
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 Tblsp. dry sherry
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 squares fermented red bean curd
2 tsp. hoi sin
2 tsp. oyster sauce
a pinch five spice
½ whole star anise
Cut the slab of pork belly in half so it will fit in the pot easily. Place both pieces in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn down to low and let simmer for 30 min. Reserve ¼ cup broth.
Remove from broth and dry with paper towels. With a fork, pierce the skin well. Dry it again with paper towels to remove most of the moisture before frying.
Heat 3 Tblsp. of oil in a wok on med - high. Have a lid ready because it will splatter. Add pork pieces skin side down and cover. When you hear the popping stop, remove lid and deep fry on all sides until golden in color.
While the pork is cooling. Make the sauce. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to blend.
When the pork is cool enough to handle, cut into ¼ inch thick slices and marinate the pieces in the sauce for 30 minutes.
Arrange by layering in a fanned out design into a medium size bowl, pour over the ¼ cup pork broth and steam for 1 ½ - 2 hours, or until soft.