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Chinese Style Pulled Pork in Lettuce Cups

Matt Moran travels to Western Australia's diverse South West Region, and procures pork from a winemaker. Try his Chinese Style Pulled Pork in Lettuce Cups.

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  • 1 pork shoulder, bone in (about 4kg), square cut shank off, skin removed, fat scored

  • 2 iceberg lettuces, central core removed and leaves separated

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil

  • 300 gm shitake mushrooms, sliced

  • ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced

  • 1 tbsp julienned ginger

  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce, plus extra to serve

  • 1 large handful each of bean sprouts and snowpea sprouts

  • Pickled carrot and cucumber, drained, to serve (see note)

  • Coriander sprigs, to serve

  • Brine

  • 170 gm (½ cup) table salt

  • 1 orange, sliced

  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half

  • 2 long red chillies, cut in half lengthways

  • 10 gm (2cm piece) ginger, sliced

  • 20 coriander seeds

  • 10 black peppercorns 

  • 8 cloves

  • 5 star anise

  • 2 cinnamon quills

  • 4 litres water

  • Glaze

  • 2 tbsp each malt syrup and honey

  • 2 tbsp each hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and light soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)

  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice

  • 2 drops sesame oil

  • 1 tsp finely diced fresh ginger

  • Note:

  • You can buy jars of pickled carrot and pickled cucumber from select delicatessens and Asian grocery stores, or make your own favourite pickle recipe.


  • 1.

    To prepare the brine, bring all the ingredients to the boil in a large saucepan, remove from heat and cool completely. Add the pork shoulder ensuring it’s submerged, cover and refrigerate for 5 hours, then drain and pat dry.

  • 2.

    To prepare the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, set aside.

  • 3.

    Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking tray with two long sheets of foil and place the pork on top. Pour over half the glaze mixture, wrap the foil over to enclose, making sure there are no gaps, then bake for 3-4 hours. Open the foil parcel, pour over the remaining glaze and bake until dark golden and caramelised (20-25 minutes).

  • 4.

    Meanwhile, trim the frilly edge from each lettuce leaf to form a cup, place in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate until chilled and crisp. Just before serving, drain well and shake off excess water.

  • 5.

    When the pork shoulder is ready, leave to rest in a warm place while you cook the vegetables. Heat a wok over high heat until smoking hot, add the oil, mushrooms and onion and stir-fry until just tender (1-2 minutes), then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant (1 minute). Add the hoisin sauce, season to taste and keep warm.

  • 6.

    Slice pork thickly and pull the meat apart a little. Add a sprinkle of bean sprouts and snowpea sprouts to the chilled lettuce cups along with some of the pickled vegetables and the stir-fried mushroom mixture.  Add the pork, spoon over a little extra hoisin sauce, scatter with coriander sprigs and serve.

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