Red-braised pork is a classic pork dish from Hunan, China. Pork belly is cooked until the fat and skin are gelatinous and melt easily in the mouth, while the sauce is usually thick, sweet and fairly sticky. It is said to have been Mao Zedong’s favourite dish and he had his Beijing chefs make it for him on a regular basis. After seeing this cooked on TV by a chef in Shanghai, I have combined and adapted several recipes to come up with this quick and tasty method.
- 300-400g of lean pork belly (cut into 2cm thick pieces)
- 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (Chinese rock sugar is best but brown sugar is an easy alternative)
- 3 tablespoons Chinese shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 spring onions
Bring a pan of water to a boil. Blanch the pork for a couple minutes then take the pork out of the pan and set aside.
Over low heat, add oil and sugar to a wok or frying pan. Melt the sugar slightly and add the pork. Increase the heat and cook until the pork is lightly browned.
Turn the heat back down to low and add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and water. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until pork is tender. Every 5-10 minutes, stir to prevent burning and add more water if it gets too dry. Once the pork is tender, if there is still a lot of visible liquid, uncover, turn up the heat, and stir continuously the sauce has reduced to a glistening and sticky coating. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve with plain boiled rice.