SERVES 4
Main Course

Ingredients

Thousand-Year Pork
  • pork belly,18,ounces (500 grams),approximately 5 inches wide,
  • cinnamon,1,stick (7 grams),,ceylon-cinnamon-sticks
  • star anise,2,whole (3 grams total),,whole-star-anise
  • ginger,3 1/2,ounces (100 grams),peeled and sliced,
  • green onion,1,(2/3 ounce / 20 grams total), sliced thinly,
  • black soy sauce,1,tablespoon,,pearl-river-dark-soy-sauce
  • vegetable oil,,,for deep-frying,
  • black cardamom,2,pods (5 grams total),,black-cardamom-pods
  • large-leaf oolong tea,2,tablespoons,,formosa-oolong-tea
  • Yunnanese-style pickled mustard greens,12,ounces (350 grams),chopped,
  • white pepper,1/2,teaspoon,ground,muntok-white-peppercorns
  • white soy sauce,2,teaspoons,,jansal-valley-white-soy-sauce
  • cilantro,a few sprigs,(5 grams total),,
  • mantou (Chinese-style steamed buns),4 to 6,,optional,
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Muu Phan Pii (Thousand-Year Pork)

Making muu phan pii involves a long series of steps that includes braising, marinating, deep-frying, and steaming pork belly—the lengthy process likely the origin of the dish’s enigmatic name. After all of this, the pork is sliced thinly and steamed yet again, this time under a pile of minced Yunnanese-style pickled mustard greens and oolong tea. The result is a dish that’s simultaneously umami, fatty, tart, and meaty, excellent when paired with mantou (Chinese-style steamed buns) but equally tasty when eaten with long-grained rice.  from The Food of Northern Thailand by Austin Bush. Buy this book from Penguin Random House, Indiebound, or Amazon.

Excerpt from The Food of Northern Thailand by Austin Bush. Copyright 2018 by Austin Bush. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Written By Austin Bush | Oct 22, 2018

Ingredients

Thousand-Year Pork
  • pork belly,18,ounces (500 grams),approximately 5 inches wide,
  • cinnamon,1,stick (7 grams),,ceylon-cinnamon-sticks
  • star anise,2,whole (3 grams total),,whole-star-anise
  • ginger,3 1/2,ounces (100 grams),peeled and sliced,
  • green onion,1,(2/3 ounce / 20 grams total), sliced thinly,
  • black soy sauce,1,tablespoon,,pearl-river-dark-soy-sauce
  • vegetable oil,,,for deep-frying,
  • black cardamom,2,pods (5 grams total),,black-cardamom-pods
  • large-leaf oolong tea,2,tablespoons,,formosa-oolong-tea
  • Yunnanese-style pickled mustard greens,12,ounces (350 grams),chopped,
  • white pepper,1/2,teaspoon,ground,muntok-white-peppercorns
  • white soy sauce,2,teaspoons,,jansal-valley-white-soy-sauce
  • cilantro,a few sprigs,(5 grams total),,
  • mantou (Chinese-style steamed buns),4 to 6,,optional,
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Step one

A day or two before serving, prepare the pork belly. Bring the pork belly, cinnamon stick, star anise, half the ginger, and enough water to cover by several inches to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Step two

Drain the pork, discarding the liquid and spices. Marinate the pork with the green onions, black soy sauce, and the remaining ginger for 2 hours.

Step three

Remove the pork, discarding the marinade. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and allow it to air-dry on a rack or sieve for 1 hour. Heat 2 inches of oil to 250°F in a wok over low heat. Add the pork and deep-fry, flipping occasionally, until the skin is just beginning to crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Step four

Using a Thai-style steamer, steam the pork until fully cooked, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slice the pork belly lengthwise as thinly as possible.

Step five

Crack the black cardamom pods, discarding the shells. Wipe out the wok, set over low heat, and add the black cardamom seeds. Toast until slightly dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Grind the seeds to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. At least 5 hours before serving, bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the oolong tea, and steep for 3 minutes. Strain, retaining the liquid and the tea leaves separately. Chop the tea leaves. Return the tea water to the saucepan over high heat, add the tea leaves, pickled greens, white pepper, 1 teaspoon of the black cardamom powder, and the white soy sauce. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, approximately 45 minutes.

Step six

Taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary; the greens should be salty, spicy, and slightly astringent.

Step seven

Neatly line the inside of a medium ceramic or glass bowl with the slices of pork. Top with the mustard green mixture. Add the dish to a steamer over high heat. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to low, and gently steam for 4 hours. Add water to the steamer as necessary so you don’t scorch the pot.

Step eight

To serve, invert the bowl on a serving plate. Garnish with the cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature, with mantou or long-grained rice, as part of a Chinese meal.