This is an easy, comforting, umami-packed dish that cries out to be eaten with steamed rice. The siu yuk (crisp-skinned roast pork) – bought from a siu mei (Chinese roast meat) shop – should be from the belly, with a nice layering of fat, or from the more flavourful but less meaty rib portion.
No need to buy shell-on oysters for this – they are much more expensive, and you have to shuck them. Just buy top-quality jarred oysters (from the refrigerator of the supermarket seafood section) and try to get ones that aren’t too large.
If you don’t have unsalted chicken stock on hand, then use a dashi bag (it looks like a tea bag) soaked in hot water. If you don't have either chicken stock or a dashi bag, you can use plain water as the braising liquid, but you’ll need to slightly increase the seasonings.
Gluten puffs are small balls of gluten that have been deep-fried. In Chinese markets, they're usually sold in the vegetable section or the area that has bean curd.
Drain the oysters, then dry them as thoroughly as possible with paper towels. Pour cooking oil into a medium-sized skillet to a depth of about 1.5cm (⅔in) and heat to 170°C (340°F). Put some cornstarch in a shallow dish. Dredge the oysters in the cornstarch, then fry in the hot oil for a few minutes on each side until very pale golden; do this in batches – do not crowd the pan. Drain the oysters on paper towels.
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to the boil, add the gluten puffs, cook for one minute, then drain. Squeeze out the excess water, then cut each gluten puff in half.
Slice the siu yuk about 5mm (¼in) thick. Peel the shallots and garlic, but leave them whole. Slice the spring onions into 3cm (1¼in) lengths. If using a dashi bag, place it in a heatproof cup, add 300ml (1¼ cup) of hot water and leave for several minutes, then remove the bag. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and pepper to whatever liquid you are using (chicken stock or dashi) and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Place a clay pot (or enamelled cast iron pot) with a capacity of about 1.5 litres (1½ quarts) over a medium flame and add about 15ml (1tbsp) of oil. When the oil is hot (about 30 seconds), add the ginger, shallots and garlic cloves and stir for about a minute. Add the spring onions and mix briefly, then stir in the roast pork. Pour the stock and seasonings into the pot and bring to the boil, then stir in the fried oysters and gluten puffs. Cover the pot with the lid, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check the seasonings, and correct, if necessary. The sauce should lightly coat the ingredients; you may need to add more stock (or plain water). Serve with steamed rice and stir-fried green vegetables.