BRAISED PORK BELLY (HONG SHAO ROU)
It’s my 1st contribution to the group, and I will try to post more recipes and photos when the outcome is proven successful and when baby allows.
I fined tuned the recipe according to the tastes we grew accustomed to in the area we lived in China.
- 450 – 500 g pork belly, skin on
- 3 slices ginger
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (sunflower or canola)
- 20 g rock sugar, or 1 ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 scallions diced, white and green parts separated
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
- 1 ½ tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 dried red chilli, optional, more for extra heat
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon sugar for the end of cooking
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Add the pork belly and 1 ½ slices of ginger to a pot and cover with enough cold water to submerge the pork.
With the lid on, bring to a boil then remove the lid, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
Drain and rinse the pork belly clean and set aside.
With a wok or cast iron skillet set over low heat, add the oil and rock sugar.
Slowly melt the sugar, taking care not to let it burn.
Once melted and a golden brown color, add the pork belly, rest of the ginger, garlic and white of the scallion.
Stir and coat the pork belly with the melted sugar.
Turn heat to medium high and fry for a few minutes until the pork is lightly golden brown.
Add the cooking wine and cook until almost completely evaporated.
Add the light and dark soy sauce and cook for a minute, stirring to coat and brown the pork.
Add cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves, dried chili peppers and water.
Stir and make sure everything is submerged.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover with a lid and cook for an hour or until the pork is to your liking in tenderness, checking periodically to make sure the sauce doesn’t dry up (add more water if needed).
Once the pork is to your liking in tenderness, turn up the heat to reduce the sauce, stirring to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.
Once the sauce reduces to a gravy like consistency and creates a glistening coat on the pork belly, add the ¼ teaspoon sugar, the remaining green scallion and salt to taste. Stir quickly and serve.
I cook mine for almost 2 hours so the pork, fat and skin is super soft – the skin can be rubbery if not cooked long enough, and chewy fat is not great either.
If your pork belly is cooked soft, gently move the pork in the pot, stirring aggressively will break it apart (still delicious but not visually appealing).
Recipe tested and photo: Sam Kruger