This is what you need to make a pot of Tau Ew Bak. About 3 strips of pork belly (some people would use short ribs or other parts, but to get an authentic tasting pot of tau ew bak, you MUST use pork belly), garlic, shitake mushrooms, hard boiled eggs, soy sauce mix (I will show you how to make that later on), whole peppercorns, 1 or 2 sticks of cinnamon and 1 or 2 star anise.
Now, we need to prepare the soy sauce mixture. Measure out about 1/4 cup of dark soy sauce.
Add in about 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Next, add in 2 tablespoons of premium soy sauce. Mix it all together and set it aside.
Heat up the wok and pour in a little bit of oil. Add in the pork belly, garlic (you do not need to peel them), some whole peppercorns, cinnamon and star anise. Saute them until the pork is lightly browned and aromatic. I believe this is done to take away the gamey smell that is sometimes present in certain pork cuts.
Once the pork is lightly browned, add in the soy sauce mixture.
Saute the pork until it is all covered with the mixture. Allow the sauce to thicken. Keep an eye on the sauce and be careful not to burn it.
Once the sauce nicely caramelized, add in about 3 cups of water.
This is the time when you can add in the shitake mushrooms (optional). Allow it to go to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to low. Let it simmer for about one and a half hours.
About 10 minutes before it is done, add in some peeled hard boiled eggs. Allow it to cook for a little bit more, then its done!
It's so good, we just ate that with some steamed white rice and sambal belacan (pounded chilis with toasted shrimp paste). The sambal belacan is of course optional, but most Penang people would swear that it's the best way to eat tau ew bak. Try it, it's homestyle cooking, at it's best! :D