Don't be tempted to halve this recipe; the meat won't be as succulent.
- 9 Chinese dried black mushrooms
- 1 1⁄2 lb. pork belly, minced
- 3⁄4 cup freeze-dried shallots
- 1⁄2 cup dried small shrimp
- 1⁄4 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems chopped separately
- 16 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. ground licorice
- 2⁄3 cup soy sauce
- 1⁄2 cup shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
- Freshly ground white pepper
Soak mushrooms in a bowl of hot water, covered, until soft, about 1 hour. Transfer mushrooms to a cutting board and discard all but 1 cup of the soaking liquid. Mince mushrooms and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add one-quarter of the pork belly and stir-fry until lightly browned, 2–3 minutes. Add shallots and stir-fry until meat is well browned, 2–3 minutes. Add shrimp, mushrooms, cilantro stems, and half the garlic, stir well, then transfer to a bowl.
Return wok to high heat and heat until hot but not smoking. Add remaining pork belly and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, licorice, and 1 tbsp. of the soy sauce and stir-fry until meat is well browned, about 1 minute. Return pork–mushroom mixture to wok. Add reserved mushroom soaking liquid, 1⁄2 cup of the soy sauce, and 1⁄3 cup of the rice wine and bring to a boil. Transfer to a heavy medium pot and set aside. Return wok to high heat, add remaining rice wine, and boil for 1 minute, then add to pot.
Add cilantro leaves, remaining garlic, and pepper to taste to pot and simmer over medium-low heat until meat sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining soy sauce. Serve with crab with sticky rice. Sauce will keep covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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