Servings: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Ingredients 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil2 pounds boneless pork rump or shoulder , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes6 scallions , cut into 1 1/2-inch sections and lightly smashed6 cloves garlic , thinly sliced and lightly smashed6 slices fresh ginger (about the size of a quarter), lightly smashed1 teaspoon Asian hot chile paste2 to 3 sticks cinnamon1 ' ' whole star anise , smashed, or 1 teaspoon anise seeds1/3 cup soy sauce1/4 cup rice wine2 tablespoons sugar4 sweet potatoes or yams , peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes2 tablespoons minced scallions , for garnish
In a 4-quart casserole or a Dutch oven, heat oil for 30 seconds over high heat until very hot. Add half the pork and cook until browned, turning once. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining pork.
Keep the oil in the pan hot, and add scallions, garlic, ginger, chile paste, cinnamon sticks, and anise; stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add 4 cups water, soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the pork and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes, cover, and cook until pork and potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with scallions, and serve atop a bed of steamed greens or accompanied by rice.