750g fatty pork, such as shoulder or skinless belly, cut into large chunks
2 eggplant/aubergines, cut into large chunks
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
5 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
very large knob fresh root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks separated, stalks finely chopped
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
juice 1 large lime
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in an ovenproof sauté pan and brown the meat well (you may have to do this in batches), then scoop out of the pan.
Add the rest of the oil and the eggplant/aubergine, brown on all sides, scoop out and add to the pork. Tip the sugar into the pan and leave to caramelise slightly, then return the pork and eggplant/aubergine to the pan with the star anise and cinnamon, then coat in the sticky caramel.
Add the ginger and half the chilli, and cook for a few mins with the pork. Add the coriander stalks and splash in the fish sauce and enough water to come about a third of the way up.
Cover and place the dish, undisturbed, in the oven for 1 hr, then remove from the oven and add the lime juice and more fish sauce to taste.
Stir through half the coriander leaves and the remaining chilli, and scatter over the rest of the coriander. You should have a hotpot of tender meat with soft eggplant/aubergines all in a punchy little sauce.