One of my most vivid and fondest memories of childhood is the bento box that grandma prepared for me for school lunch everyday. It was not fancy at all but it was tasty. For six years, everyday for lunch, I ate a soy boiled egg, soy stewed pork, and white rice. No vegetable. I emptied the bento box everyday.
A couple of years ago, when I had the chance to spend more time with grandma, I pestered her for the recipe. My 96-years-old grandma responded, “I have not cook in a long time. I don’t remember!” But I persisted. She finally told me! I was so excited to find out her secret that I cooked it that night while she hovered around the kitchen door giving more instructions. “More wine. What can do you with that little bit of wine!” “More sugar. That makes it shine!” I can still hear her clearly in my mind. (Note: My aunt did not like grandma near the narrow kitchen anymore while we cook. Just to be safe.)
One thing I’ll say about Grandma’s recipe: My 96-years-old Taiwanese grandma told me this from memory verbally so it’s extremely imprecise. I always had fun just sort of making it up every time I made this. However, it is a very forgiving recipe and very yum!
Modified Instapot recipe of soy pork belly and eggs based Grandma’s:
#instapot: 40 minuets instead 4 to 7 hours on stove top
Ingredients and Preparation:
Before: pork belly (I found some from Wholefoods that were pretty good; cut in cubes but not too small), eggs (boil and peel shells), garlic (peel skin), soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar (2 to 3 spoons), star anise (3). I found that the dark soy sauce tastes better but you can use any kind. Lots of garlic. You can never have too much. Pork that has some fat tastes better. But you can go completely lean if you want.
- Put pork, eggs, garlic, and star anise in the Instapot.
- Add about half inch of soy sauce and half inch or more of rice wine. The rice wine gives it a good flavor. Add water until everything is covered in liquid but not more than a third of the pot (which is the standard insta instruction).
- Add brown sugar which gives the meat the shine!
- Grandma said, don’t be stingy with your soy, sugar and wine!
- Cook and wait. On stove top: slow fire for about 4 to 7 hours. Instapot: around 40 minutes on medium. It also depends on how cooked you want the meat to be.
If you are adventurous, you can add carrots, potatoes, or tofu. Anything that you like with soy sauce! Enjoy!
P.S. I have a food journal on Instagram if you want to see more photos of just food!