With the cool weather approaching us these fall days, it seemed like the perfect time to make some comfort food from traditional Chinese cuisine. Make sure you make more because leftovers are even better.
The pork belly is caramelized with the sugar, cooking wine, and soy for a tender, sweet dish. Both light and dark soy sauces are needed for this recipe. Light soy can be used for everyday cooking and dips while dark soy has a thicker and more salty sauce that has been aged longer. These and shaoxing wine can be used in many Chinese recipes. They are minor pantry investments that pay delicious, tasty dividends. These brands are sometimes hard to find. Pearl River Bridge soy sauce is the best in Chinese kitchens.
Everything is made “to taste”, and exact measurements are not possible for older generations. Hard boiled eggs are a favorite add-in. Although they may seem strange, they’re delicious with the sauce and a crowd pleaser. To complete the satisfying bowl, we also love potato cubes or taro.
CHINESE-BRAISED PORK BELLY “HONG SHAO ROU”
- 1.5 lbs pork belly
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rock sugar or brown sugar
- 1 inch ginger chunk, roughly peeled then sliced
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 to 3 cups of hot water. Heat it in the microwave or boil in a pot.
Optional: 2 to 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 to 3 cloves star anise
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (ADD DURING THE FINAL 30 MIN OF BRAISING)
- Hardboiled eggs, peeled
- Potato or taro cubes
1. To get rid of any impurities, boil a pot of water. Boil the meat and let it simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Use tongs to remove meat and cut it into 1-inch cubes. The blanching water should be thrown out.
2. Sauté the oil and ginger slices in a braising pot until fragrant. Cook the meat cubes until they are lightly browned.
3. Stir in the sugar, cooking wine, and both soy sauces. Make sure to coat the meat well. Turn down heat and let sauces simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add hot water to cover the meat. You will need to add mix-ins such as potatoes, taro, or eggs.
Reduce heat to a simmer, but not over-boiling, and let the meat rest covered for about an hour, occasionally stirring. Do not open the lid too often.
To get tender pork belly, lower heat and longer braising time are better. It was delicious. We cooked it on the stovetop for nearly two hours while doing chores.
This recipe can be made in less time with the InstantPot. Sometimes it’s just nice to braise on the stovetop!
You can remove the meat using a slotted spoon, skim any fat from the top layer and put the meat back in the pot. You could also defatten the leftovers the next morning, once they’ve had time to cool in the refrigerator.
5. Adjust the soy, sugar, water and flavorings according to your taste. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the pork is tender. Mix-ins should be added in the last 15-20 minutes to ensure that the root vegetables aren’t too soft.
6. Turn the heat up to medium and remove the lid. The sauce will reduce and thicken a little. Serve hot over jasmine rice!