Chinese braised pork belly

    2 hours 40 min

    This dish is called red-cooked pork, or hong shao rou in Mandarin. It's delicious served on steamed buns or over rice. Caramelised sugar, star anise and sherry give the braising liquid a complex flavour, and a combination of soy sauce and treacle gives the finished sauce its rich, mahogany colour. Serve on steamed buns (such as Andrea's Steamed Buns on this site).

    7 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 1.4kg skinless pork belly
    • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
    • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1L water, or more if needed
    • 5 large spring onions, diagonally cut into 5cm pieces
    • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 120ml dry sherry
    • 120ml reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons treacle
    • 8 whole star anise
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
    • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:2hr25min  ›  Ready in:2hr40min 

    1. Cut pork into eight 5x8cm pieces.
    2. Heat oil in a ceramic casserole pot over high heat. In 2 batches, sear pork, fat side first, until light golden, 30 to 60 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate. Pour out all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the drippings.
    3. Add 4 tablespoons sugar to pot; melt, stirring if needed, over medium-high heat. Cook until a light caramel colour, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, then return pork to pot, turning pieces to coat. When sugar darkens to an orange colour, after about 1 minute, add water; stir to loosen any sugar stuck to the bottom.
    4. Add spring onions, garlic, sherry, soy sauce, treacle, star anise and 2 tablespoons sugar. If needed, add up to 120ml additional water to nearly cover pork. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until a knife inserted into the fat layer meets little resistance, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
    5. Transfer pork to a plate with a slotted spoon; loosely cover. Skim fat and drain solids from cooking liquid. Return 1L liquid to pot and bring to the boil; simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to about 250ml, about 30 minutes. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.
    6. Slice pork into twenty-four 1 cm thick pieces. Working in batches, warm pork with half the sauce in a large nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. Turn pork frequently to coat and, if desired, let sear slightly. Garnish with cucumber slices and sliced spring onion.


    You can use pork shoulder instead of pork belly; just shred it and discard the fat after braising.

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