1 cup minced fresh shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. pork belly, diced
8 medium-small dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in warm water, stemmed & diced
1/2 cup fried shallots or fried red onion (available in most Asian markets)
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
2/3 cup regular soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaohsing or Chinese rice wine
2 tsp. 5-spice powder
1 large lump brown rock sugar (or 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar)
4 cups or more of water
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1. Boil the eggs first. Heres a tip: to keep the shells from sticking on the eggs when peeling, I poke a small hole on the wide bottom part of each egg using a push pin (the kind you use to pin papers, etc. to a wall); cover the eggs with cold water in a saucepan; bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes; turn off the heat and let the eggs cool (in the water) to room temperature; peel and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a wok or large saute pan. Add the minced fresh shallots and garlic and saute for a couple minutes until fragrant.
3. Add the diced pork belly and cook over medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned.
4. Add the fried shallots and diced shiitakes and mix through.
5. Add the sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add 4 cups water or enough to cover the pork mixture. Cover and simmer for 2 hours (taste during cooking and add more water if needed).
6. Add the peeled hard-boiled eggs to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Cut each braised egg in half length-wise and serve on the side of the pork and sauce over steamed white rice.
NOTE: In the highly unlikely event that you have any leftover braised pork, the mixture freezes well so just pour into a Ziplock-type bag and pop into the freezer. The braised eggs are another story - you can freeze them, but their texture gets a little rubbery after defrosting.