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The savoury taste of Chinese five-spice goes surprisingly well with the sweetness of caramel. Coupled with succulent pork belly, this dish makes an excellent main course for gatherings.


  • 2 kg boned pork belly, rind removed
  • 8 cups water
  • 250 ml coconut water
  • 250 ml water, extra
  • 180 ml fish sauce
  • 110 g firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsps five-spice powder
  • 16 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 fresh small thai red (serrano) chillies
  • ¼ fresh coriander sprigs
  • 220 g caster sugar
  • 125 ml water

Cut pork into 4-cm (1½-inch) pieces.


Place pork and the water in a large saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat. Boil 5 mins, skimming impurities from the surface; drain.


To make caramel; combine sugar and the water in a small saucepan; stir over high heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil, uncovered, without stirring, until a deep golden caramel.


Place pork in a 4.5-litre (18-cup) slow cooker with caramel, coconut water, the extra water, sauce, sugar, five spice and unpeeled garlic cloves. Cook, covered, on low, for 6 hours.


Meanwhile, place eggs in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to the boil; boil eggs 6 mins or until hard-boiled. Transfer to a bowl of cold water and cool slightly before peeling.


Add eggs and chillies to cooker. Cook, uncovered, on high, for 30 mins; skim fat from surface. Sprinkle with coriander before serving.

Recipe & Photo: The Australian Women’s Weekly/BauerSyndication.com.au

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