Hong Shao Rou (Braised Pork Belly)

Braised pork belly (Hong Shao Rou)

Hong Shao Rou, or Braised Pork Belly, is a classic Chinese dish known for its rich, flavorful, and tender meat. This recipe combines the perfect balance of savory and sweet, making it a delightful dish to share with family and friends. Follow these detailed steps to prepare Hong Shao Rou for four people.

Ingredients

For the Pork Marinade:

  • 1.5 lbs (700g) pork belly, skin-on, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced

For Braising:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons rock sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cups hot water or chicken broth

For Garnish (optional):

  • Sliced green onions
  • Chopped cilantro

Equipment:

  • Heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with a lid
  • Stirring spoon
  • Knife and cutting board

Preparation:

Preparing the Pork Marinade:

  1. Marinate the Pork:
    • In a bowl, combine the pork belly cubes with Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, five-spice powder, white pepper, minced garlic, and sliced ginger. Mix well to ensure the pork is evenly coated. Allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or ideally, refrigerate overnight for enhanced flavor.

Braising the Pork Belly:

  1. Sear the Pork:
    • Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the marinated pork cubes, searing each side until browned. This step enhances the flavor and texture of the pork.
  2. Caramelize the Sugar:
    • Sprinkle rock sugar or brown sugar over the seared pork. Allow the sugar to caramelize, stirring occasionally to coat the pork evenly. This adds a rich color and sweetness to the dish.
  3. Deglaze with Shaoxing Wine:
    • Pour Shaoxing wine over the caramelized pork, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any flavorful bits. This deglazing step enhances the depth of flavor in the braising liquid.
  4. Add Soy Sauces and Aromatics:
    • Stir in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, cinnamon stick, star anise, and dried bay leaves. These ingredients contribute to the savory and aromatic profile of Hong Shao Rou.
  5. Pour in Hot Water or Broth:
    • Add hot water or chicken broth to the pot, ensuring the pork is almost submerged. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
  6. Simmer and Braise:
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. Check periodically to ensure the pork is tender and the flavors have melded. Add more water or broth if needed.
  7. Check for Doneness:
    • Test the pork for tenderness. It should easily break apart with a fork. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more soy sauce or sugar to achieve the desired balance.

Serving Hong Shao Rou:

  1. Garnish and Serve:
    • Once the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened, remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and bay leaves. Garnish with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro for freshness.
  2. Serve Over Rice:
    • Hong Shao Rou is traditionally served over steamed rice. Spoon the succulent pork belly and flavorful sauce over individual plates of rice.
  3. Enjoy the Meal:
    • Gather your loved ones and enjoy this flavorful and comforting Hong Shao Rou together. The melt-in-your-mouth pork and rich sauce are sure to be a hit.

Braising pork belly to perfection in a savory and sweet sauce, this Hong Shao Rou recipe is a wonderful way to experience the authentic flavors of Chinese cuisine. Share this delicious meal with friends and family, and savor the warmth and richness of this classic dish.

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