Sticky Braised Pork Belly

Sticky Braised Pork Belly also known as “Hong Shao Rou” in Chinese is a delectable dish that has captivated taste buds within my family and circle of friends. It’s a childhood favorite that I absolutely love to cook and have so many fond memories of. Every year, for as long as I can remember, I would ask my mother to make me this dish for my birthday, coupled with rice and stir-fry garlic kai-lan (Chinese broccoli).

With its tender, succulent meat, and rich, flavorful sauce, it makes for a crowd-pleaser and a great weekend dinner option. The beauty of this dish is that everything is within one pot and you can make plenty of it so you will be sorted for dinner over several days.



Why am I so obsessed with this dish?

I love this dish because the dish perfectly marries the melt-in-your-mouth qualities of slow-cooked pork belly with a sticky, sweet, and savory glaze that’s nothing short of addictive. You can pair this dish with plain congee, rice, crispy rice, or even lettuce wraps! you also only need a few pantry staples and pork belly (of course!).

The recipe is easy and simple, let me quickly break it down for you!

  1. Washing: Boiling the pork cleans it by releasing its impurities.
  2. Searing: Cutting the pork belly into chunks and searing them in a hot pan not only adds depth to the dish’s flavor but also creates that irresistible crispy exterior.
  3. Braising: Patience is key here, as the slow cooking process is what makes the meat tender and allows the flavors to meld together.
  4. Glazing: As the pork belly braises, the sauce will reduce and thicken, creating a sticky glaze. Regular basting ensures every piece is coated to perfection.

Worth noting as well that traditionally this is done with pork belly but you can definitely opt for a vegetarian-friendly version by braising tofu instead! I have a similar recipe to this if you want to give it a go; Braised Tofu & Mushroom.



Let’s make Sticky Braised Pork Belly!

Ingredients:

Serves 4 – 5

  • 1kg of pork belly with rind, cut into bite-sized pieces (2cm chunks)
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of neutral oil

Braising liquid

  • 2-3 cups of water or until pork is just covered
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of Neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar/rock sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine
  • 3-4 slices of ginger (optional)
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion (white cut into 4cm chunks, green sliced)
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Steps:

1. Bring water to a boil, add salt and pork belly to the pot.

2. Boil for approx 2-3 minutes and scoop off the scum that rises to the surface.

3. Drain and rinse pork.

4. On low heat, add oil and sugar to a pot. Leave undisturbed and let it melt into a dark brown caramel. Keep an eye on it because it can go from golden brown to black real quick!

5. Move the saucepan in a circular motion to spread the caramel.

6. Add pork and increase to high heat to get a nice brown coating over the meat. This should take approx. 4-6 minutes.

7. Add wine and stir for about a minute.

8. Add garlic and stir, let it get fragrant.

9. Add soya, dark soya, spring onion, ginger, star anise, and pepper. Bring down to a low simmer for about 45 mins- 1 hr. Lid on. Occasionally stirring.

10. Check in after 1 hour, and see if the pork is soft and tender by tasting or seeing if the fat is semi-detached from the meat. If so, increase the heat to high to reduce the liquid (lid off). If not, simmer in 10-minute intervals until soft and to the desired softness.

11. Reduce liquid to your desired consistency. I like a thick sauce that I can drizzle over my rice!

12. Serve over a bed of rice paired with some veggies and garnish with spring onion.


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