Braised Pork Shank in Coconut Juice
- 4 to 6 chicken or duck eggs or 12 quail eggs
- Water to cook eggs, plus 1/4 cup water for caramel
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 cups young coconut juice (if using fish sauce)
- 1/2 cup fish sauce or thin soy sauce
- 2 (2-pound) pork shanks, bone in and with rind
- 5 scallions, trimmed, halved, and white bulbs lightly crushed
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 3 or more dried red chilies
- 5 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
Gently place the eggs in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and cook until soft-boiled, about 5 minutes (about 2 minutes for quail eggs.) Rinse under cold water and allow to cool completely. Carefully shell the eggs intact. Make a caramel by combining the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the sugar is melted and turns a rich gold, about 8 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the coconut juice and fish sauce (or 3 cups water and the soy sauce.) Reduce the heat to low and stir until the sauce is completely smooth. Add the pork shanks, turning them to coat evenly on all sides. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, chilies, star anise, and five-spice powder, and simmer, covered, turning shanks occasionally, until the meat is fork tender, about 4 hours. With a ladle, skim off the fat and add the eggs. Continue simmering, ladling sauce over the eggs occasionally, until the eggs turn golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
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