Star anise, soy and ginger add wonderful flavours to this deliciously tender pork joint casserole, simmered with shallots, carrots and mushrooms. Vegetables and rice noodles cooked in exotic, rich juices make this into a complete meal.
Place the pork in a large flameproof casserole and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Bring back to a boil on the stove, then pour off the water. Add the stock, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, honey, garlic, ginger, star anise, shallots and carrots to the casserole dish and bring to a boil. Thickly slice four of the scallions, roughly chop the drained Chinese mushrooms and add both to the casserole. Reserve the strained mushroom soaking liquid.
Cover and simmer gently on a very low heat for 1-1 1/4hours, stirring the vegetables and basting the meat occasionally until everything is tender. Add the oyster mushrooms for the last 20 minutes of the cooking time. If necessary, top up using the reserved mushroom soaking liquid or more stock or water.
Meanwhile, cut the remaining scallions into 6 cm lengths, then cut lengthwise into fine shreds. Place in a bowl of iced water and leave to curl. Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of boiling water for 4 minutes or until softened, then drain well.
Carefully lift the meat out of the casserole with a slotted spoon and keep hot. Bring the juices to a boil on the stove, then add the rice noodles and remove the dish from the heat. Turn and stir the noodles to coat with the juices. Slice the pork thinly.
Spread the noodles on a large shallow serving platter, using a slotted spoon to lift them from the casserole. Arrange the sliced meat and vegetables on top, then spoon over the casserole juices. Scatter the scallion curls over the top as a garnish.
Cook's tip: Soak dried mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes to rehydrate, then drain. The soaking liquid makes a tasty stock but needs to be strained through a fine sieve to remove any gritty bits.
Variation: Omit the scallions and instead stir 75 grams (2 3⁄4 oz) bean sprouts into the hot juices just before adding the rice noodles. Garnish with chopped cilantro instead of scallion curls.
Each serving: 34 g protein, 6 g fat of which 2 g saturates, 58 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fibre, 438 Calories