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There has never been a more simple hóngshāo ròu (红烧肉, red-braised pork belly) known to me until the day I visited Chen Chen’s family in Shanghai. Deliciousness is the result after braising pork belly in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and star anise. This recipe is for a hóngshāo ròu of a sweeter flavor. For my friend’s blog, Rasa Malaysia, I guest blogged my own recipe of hóngshāo ròu that excites taste buds with chilies and Sichuan peppercorn. Chen Chen’s family is from Shanghai where the flavor favors sweetness, shying away from garlic and strong-flavored spices. If your taste buds align with those in Shanghai, this pork belly recipe will send you to heaven.
Equipment: clay pot or dutch oven
- 1,500 grams pork belly (五花肉, wǔhuāròu)
- 6 1-inch pieces ginger (姜, jiāng)
- 1 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (料酒, liàojiǔ)
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (料酒, liàojiǔ)
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (老抽, lǎo chōu)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (生抽, shēng chōu)
- 3 teaspoons white sugar (白糖, báitáng）
- ¼ teaspoon salt (盐, yán)
- 500 ml water
- Parboil — Bring a pot of water to boil. Immerse entire slab of pork belly with ginger and 1 tablespoon cooking wine. Adding cooking wine dispels any gamey flavor, according to Chen Chen’s mother. Remove any scum that surfaces. After five minutes, discard water and rinse meat with cold water. Slice pork belly into 1-inch cubes.
- Braise — Heat cooking oil in a wok. Stir fry the pork pieces. Add Shaoxing wine and dark soy sauce, continuing to stir fry. Add soy sauce, sugar, salt and water, then bring to a boil. Upon boiling, lower the flame and simmer for two to three hours.
Serve with rice or on top of a noodle soup.