08 February 2010

Chinese Braised Pork Belly - Dong Po's Pork - 東坡肉

Ok. I promise this is going to be my last pork belly dish. Its not that I think my waistline can't take it.. (my motto: eat first.. think later)... but I think my flatmates will revolt against me if I continue to cook any more pork belly recipes.

There are many recipes on the web for Dong Po's Pork that calls for the pork belly to be deep fried first, or braised in wine and stock with star anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds and citrus peels. For this attempt, I've tried to stick to a simplier and probably more traditional version, which calls for only soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, spring onions, ginger and block sugar.

The resulting fat wasn't really fat anymore. Well it was still fat.. but all the oil had been rendered out from the hours of braising and steaming. After all the braising and steaming, the fat was so soft, it would just melted in your mouth.

Although the next time I make this... (and I will probably make this again).. I will throw in 1 or 2 star anises. Just to help the flavour along a bit more. :)

Chinese Braised Pork Belly - Dong Po's Pork 東坡肉

  • 1kg pork belly
  • 100g spring onion (white part only)
  • 100g block sugar
  • 500ml yellow chinese rice wine (绍酒)
  • 50g ginger (smashed)
  • 100g light soy
  • 20g dark soy

  1. Bring some water to boil in a large pot or wok
  2. Remove any coarse hair on the skin with a tweezer then wash the pork well. Blanch the pork in boiling water for 5 mins, then remove from the pot and place on a chopping board or plate to rest. The water can be emptied out.
  3. Divide and cut the pork belly into large cubes (about 4cm wide). You should be able to get about 4 large or 6 smaller cubes out of a 1kg piece of pork belly.
  4. Tie the pork up with some cooking string. This helps keep the pork cubes in shape and also makes it easier to remove from the claypot afterwards.

little parcels of pork... humm... :)

  1. Place spring onions and ginger at the bottom of a claypot
  2. Lay the pork cubes on top of the shallots and ginger, then add sugar, light soy and dark soy
  3. Pour in the yellow rice wine last. Just enough to cover the pork
  4. Turn the heat up and bring the wine to boil. Then reduce to a low flame and cook for about 3 hrs, until pork is meltingly soft and you can use a chopstick to poke through a piece with minimal effort.

After braising for 3hrs...

  1. There should be a significant layer of fat being released from the pork cubes. To remove this, place the claypot with the sauce into the fridge (overnight is Ok if you are serving this the next day) and let sit until the fat layer starts to turn white. When the fat has hardened, use a spoon to skim off the fatty layer.
  2. Place the pork, skin side up and put into a baking dish or bowl and cover with cling wrap.
  3. Using a wok and some water for a steamer, bring the water to boil, place a steamer rack inside the wok and place the dish of pork belly on top. Steam for about 45mins
  4. With the sauce still in the claypot, bring it back to boil and leave it boiling for another 10 mins or so to reduce the sauce and intensify the flavour a bit more.
  5. Once the steaming has completed. Take out the pork, cut and remove the cooking string and arrange on a serving plate. Pour some of the fat-removed sauce over the pork cubes and garnish with lots of sliced spring onions and coriander.
  • 2 cups or 500ml of chinese rice wine does seem like a lot. But you do need enough to cover the pork cubes. Also, the long hours of braising does cook all the alcohol out, and all that is left is a very rich and intense soy-based stock.

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