- 250g pork butt (shoulder), ¼” thick slices (see note)
- 2 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- 1 head garlic, divided
- ½ tsp white peppercorns
- 8 cilantro stems, chopped (keep the leaves for garnish)
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- Jasmine rice for serving
Note: Pork butt, also known as pork shoulder, is a flavorful and fatty cut that I prefer for this. When you slice it, trim off any large chunks of fat, but leave in the smaller fat streaks that run through the meat. For a leaner option you can also use pork loin or tenderloin, but keep in mind that leaner cuts are not as juicy and flavorful.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound peppercorns until fine. Add one-third of the garlic and chopped cilantro stems and pound into a fine paste.
- Add herb paste, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar to the pork, and mix well with a utensil (it’s faster to massage everything in by hand, but wear gloves or your hands will smell like garlic for a long time!). Let sit for 20 mins minimum, and up to one day.
Meanwhile, make fried garlic:
- Chop the remaining garlic as evenly and finely as you can.
- Add about 1/2-inch of frying oil to a small pot or wok you’re using to fry the pork. Turn heat on to high then right away add garlic. Once garlic starts bubbling, turn heat down to low and fry, stirring frequently, until garlic is light golden. Do not let it brown or it will be bitter.
- Once done, use a fine mesh skimmer to strain /remove ALL the garlic from oil. Shake the garlic energetically to dry it out. Alternatively you can pour it through a strainer and return oil back to pot. Don’t let garlic bits remain in the oil or it will burn when you fry the pork.
To fry the pork:
- Add cornstarch to pork and mix well. It will look wet and pasty.
- Add more oil to the pot so it’s now about 1.5 inch deep and heat to 375°F (190°C) over medium high heat.
- Fry the pork in batches so as to not crowd the pot. Once you drop the pork
- Immediately pull the pieces apart so they are not stuck together. Fry for about 1 minute only, just until the exterior has browned slightly. Remove with a slotted skimmer and drain on paper towel. If it needs more cooking, stir-fry it in the garlic oil afterward.
- To serve, sprinkle fried garlic over pork and top with cilantro leaves if desired
- Serve with jasmine rice or sticky rice, and a cold drink!