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Kong Tau Yew Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) is a well loved, very flavorful Hokkien (Fujianese) comfort food dish. Usually comes with hard boiled eggs.
You will likely have had your fair share of Kong Tau Yew Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) if you are Malaysian Chinese of the Hokkien (Fujianese) dialect. I know Paul and I did and we still love it to this day. It is our kind of comfort food – home cooked, simple, and so very tasty.
Variations in Kong Tau Yew Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce)
The combination of sweet soy sauce and braised pork is like a marriage made in heaven. It just is! The addition of a generous amount of garlic and peppercorns make it even more so. Like mom, I put in an entire bulb of unpeeled garlic. Why unpeeled? It is to prevent them from melting into the sauce because all that braising makes them really, really soft. The peel will keep them intact so that the soft and mellowed garlic cloves can be enjoyed together with the tender pork and eggs. Ahh…it is so good!
Like all dishes, variations are bound to exist because cooking is a very individual thing. Some prefer their Kong Tau Yew Bak light and soupy like the Teochew version which usually comes with chunks of tofu. Others, add all kinds of spices like cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, and the likes. Those spices give it an almost herbal flavor.
I grew up with a slightly sweet and syrupy Kong Tau Yew Bak with just garlic and crushed peppercorns. I still much prefer it this way. More spices does not mean better flavor. This simple version eaten with a side of Sambal Belacan is out of this world delicious. Seriously, it is ah-ma-zing! You have to give it a try.
Different Kinds of Soy Sauce
Now, a word about soy sauce. They come in various forms and many different brands. Light soy sauce as the name suggest, is lighter and thinner. It is used as a dip as well as a seasoning. Generally, the better the quality, the more flavorful and less salty. Cheap soy sauce is usually very light and very salty. Dark soy sauce is richer and less salty. Sugar or molasses is a common additive. The more sugar or molasses, the thicker the consistency.
We love our soy sauce and I have several different types and brands in my pantry at all times. For this recipe, I used a sweet soy sauce of medium viscosity. It is not too sweet and not too thick. I only needed to add 2 teaspoon of sugar to the dish. Depending on the brand and type of dark soy sauce used, please adjust the amount of sugar to your liking. This particular brand of sweet soy sauce is a little lighter in color. If you prefer a darker color, please add another 1 or 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce and omit the salt. You can’t have too much soy sauce in this dish, except when it gets too salty of course!
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- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 bulb garlic (separated but not peeled)
- 1 tsp peppercorns (cracked or smashed)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1½ lbs boneless pork ribs or pork shoulder, cut into bite size pieces (675g)
- 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¾ cup water (180ml)
- ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- 4 hard boiled eggs (peeled)
- Heat vegetable oil in a medium sized pot. Saute garlic cloves, cracked peppercorns, and minced garlic for 1 minute.
- Add pork and fry to seal in the juices. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Add sweet soy sauce, sugar, and water.
- Bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add salt and hard boiled eggs. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Turn eggs occasional to coat evenly with soy sauce. Turn off stove.
- Serve warm with steamed rice.
I like to remove and serve the hard boiled eggs separately on a different plate. Cut them in half lengthwise so that each person can drizzle some of that rich sauce onto the yolks. I also highly recommend that you check out my Sambal Belacan recipe because Kong Tau Yew Bak is really, really delicious with this spicy and slightly tangy condiment.
For a complete home style meal, also check out my Stir Fry Gai Lan and/or Leng Ngau Tong (Lotus Root Soup). Lastly, do not forget to cook a big pot of steamed rice to go with this beloved Hokkien Kong Tau Yew Bak. You can thank me later for the reminder. 😉
Kong Tau Yew Bak with Congee
Kong Tau Yew Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) actually tastes even better the next day. So, go ahead and cook a double portion. It is also amazing served with plain congee or this Sweet Potato Congee, instead of rice. If you choose to go this route, please do check out the Sweet Potato Congee post. In there, you can get ideas on what other dishes may be served together for a delicious and comforting congee lunch or dinner.