Slow-braised ham hock in yellow bean sauce, white pepper and five-spice

Jeremy serves up a stunning braised ham hock recipe, slow-cooked to perfection in a rich yellow bean sauce and a host of aromatic Chinese spices, perfect for chilly nights. This recipe is taken from Hong Kong Diner by Jeremy Pang, published by Quadrille. Photography by Kris Kirkham.

First published in 2017

Anything pork goes down a storm in Hong Kong. Traditionally this dish can be found during the winter at dai pai dongs. Its hearty slow-cooked process makes a perfect main dish for serving with a few others: crispy squid with chilli and garlic, or sweet and sour whole prawns (shrimp), along with a stir-fried vegetable and some steamed rice on the side for a truly balanced feast.




Slow-braised ham hock

Yellow bean braising sauce


To begin, cut the red onion into roughly 2cm chunks and halve the leek lengthways. Wash the leek well under cold running water and cut into 3cm lengths
Mix all the braising sauce ingredients together in a small bowl
Rub the salt, white pepper and five-spice all over the ham hock and set aside on a roasting tray
Now build your wok clock: place the red onion at 12 o'clock, followed by the leeks, the black peppercorns, bay leaf, star anise and cinnamon stick, then the braising sauce, clockwise on the plate
Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to a medium heat in a large sauce pan. Once hot, place the ham hock skin-side down in the pan and turn it until completely seared all over – about 5–8 minutes in total
Add the red onion around the edge of the ham and fry for a further minute or so, then add the leeks, peppercorns and bay leaf, giving them a quick stir for another minute or two
Turn the heat up to high, then pour the braising sauce into the pan and bring to a vigorous boil. Turn the ham hock every minute or so, coating all sides in the boiling sauce
The sauce will begin to reduce and thicken, starting to stick a little on the base of the pan. At this point, pour in the chicken stock and enough hot water to cover the ham hock completely, and return to the boil
Give it a stir to mix all the flavours together, then turn the heat down to medium-low and leave to cook for 1 1/2 hours
After about 1 hour of braising the meat, preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 8. Once the meat has had its 1 1/2 hours of braising, transfer the ham hock to a roasting tray
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok to a high heat. Scoop out all the red onions and leeks from the braising liquid, add them to the wok and fry for 30 seconds, then immediately add 4–5 ladles of braising liquid and bring to a vigorous boil
Add the cornflour paste, return to the boil and stir continuously for 1 minute more
Once the sauce has thickened slightly, pour it directly over the ham hock, then place the roasting tray in the oven for a further 20–30 minutes
This is a great dish for everyone to get stuck in, pulling pieces apart as they go

School of Wok founder, author and TV chef Jeremy Pang comes from three generations of Chinese chefs. Being surrounded by food connoisseurs, Jeremy developed his passion for food and soon realised the importance and correlation between basic cooking skills and eating well.

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