Weekend Cooking: Tau Yu Bah (braised pork in soy sauce)






My freezer is full.

I guess I have Costco to thank for it!

We pick up sliced bread for sandwiches and toast, two huge loaves, so into the freezer goes one. Frozen chicken thighs (huge bag). Frozen tilapia (huge bag). Fresh pork chops (huge packet) which I divide up, clingwrap and freeze. Huge bag of frozen Korean dumplings (chicken and coriander). Everything. Is. Huge.

So my freezer. It is full. We’ve been wondering about buying another freezer (or a fridge?) to put in the garage. But at the very moment, I am trying my best to cook from my freezer!

Frozen pork leg = tau yu bah (or pork braised in soy sauce).

It’s usually cooked with hard boiled eggs and/or tofu, but this time, I did a plain pork one. And technically, it should be pork belly, but I thought I’d try it out with the pork leg that was already in the freezer.

Here’s a recipe from Food Canon.


With pork leg though, an hour of simmering on the stove didn’t result in tender meat. I grabbed the crockpot and popped the meat in for another hour and a half. And there it finally all came together. That slightly sweet, savoury gravy with a hint of the spices (star anise, clove, cinnamon) peeking through it, that fork-tender pork made me think of Singapore. Specifically of my late maternal grandmother, whom we would visit every Sunday evening and stay for dinner. She would always be found sitting on her stool in the kitchen when we arrived,  directing the domestic helper through the kitchen tasks. The kids would eat first, grabbing our food off the lazy susan on the table in the dining room, heading out to the front porch to sit on the plastic chairs and enjoy the cool evening breeze. The adults would come and check on us from time to time, but they mostly ate and chatted in the dining room. There would always be a soup of some sort, sometimes a steamed fish (or a fried fish), some kind of pork dish like tau yu bah or kong bah (stewed pork belly eaten with steamed buns, one of my favourite dishes), or chicken, and always a vegetable dish, sometimes cooked with tofu. For a while there was always fried chicken wings as that was the only thing one of my cousins would eat! And my grandmother made this yummy fried prawns dipped in batter that I would often request for my birthday meal. Fruits would always follow, eaten on the front porch. My grandfather would brew his tea and sip it with my aunts and uncles, while us kids slipped in and out of the house, watching some TV here, playing on the swing there, running around the house. Those were good times.





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10 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: Tau Yu Bah (braised pork in soy sauce)

  1. Oooh I remember fried chicken wings. But only from when I was very young. It was one of those things made on family occasions “because children like them”. Ironically I didn’t like them all that much because I wasn’t keen on the skin in those days. Although I did eat the crispy coating. Gosh I was fussy.

    I like your description of cool evening breeze. It reminds me of times in Malaysia. Even though it was foreign and I was miserable! it was an experience.


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