About the author: Chichi Wang took her degree in philosophy, but decided that writing about food would be much more fun than writing about Plato. She firmly believes in all things offal, the importance of reading great books, and the necessity of three-hour meals. If she were ever to get a tattoo, it would say "Fat is flavor." Visit her blog, The Offal Cook.
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- Yield:serves 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:3 hours 20 minutes
- 2 pounds pork cheeks
- 2/3 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup rice wine
- 1 ounce palm sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3 to 6 bird's eye chilies
- To Garnish:
- Freshly cut herbs, such as thai basil, cilantro, or scallions
- Fried shallots
- Toasted shredded coconut
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place cheeks in pot or braising pan. The cheeks should cover the surface of the vessel. Add enough water so that cheeks are halfway submerged. Add add soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, sugar, cinnamon, and chilis to pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Transfer to oven and cook until very tender, about 2 hours.
De-fat the mixture, either by skimming off the liquid fat or refrigerating the meat and letting the fat solidify on the top. Remove meat from liquid and gently break into bite-sized chunks (meat will be very tender). Heat sauce in a medium saucepan and cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Sauce should be rich and syrupy. Return meat to sauce and heat through. Serve immediately, garnished with herbs and fried shallots. Serve with rice.