Oh pork belly, how I love thee! It may look like it took forever to make this and that it has a lot of steps, but you’re WRONG. This Hong Shao Rou – Szechuan Red Braised Pork Belly is so simple and delivers BIG time on flavor.
I have always loved the deep red color you see in Chinese slow roasted duck and other dishes and decided it was high time I try making my own. I’ve tried several different times now to make this and I think I achieved my goal this last round!
I’ve read a bit now in cooking Hong Shao Rou (Red Braised Pork Belly), or the “red-braising/cooking method.” It’s where the pork belly gets braised with soy sauce, sugar and other spices to get the color and caramelization that is so coveted. No red food coloring dye in this, no, no. I used brown sugar and the result was heavenly. A touch of rice wine vinegar to add some acid and tang and this result is scrumptious.
This is one delicious, sticky pork belly and with a slight hint of heat to make for an incredible dinner with steamed rice.
In this dish I wanted the pork belly to get infused with a few flavor weapons of choice: green onions, a Serrano pepper and fresh ginger.
Not only does this help start the cooking process and tenderizes the pork belly, but imparts a wonderful flavor base to the cut up pork belly. Once boiled for a few minutes in the aromatics the pork is removed from the liquid, dried off and pan seared in a hot wok with oil to start the crispy, crunchy edges going.
Remove the pork belly cubes from the hot wok and drain on paper towel. Set aside as you start the caramel sauce.
In your wok add the brown sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and bubbles. Quickly add the hot water to the wok and stir to mix thoroughly. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Chinese Five Spice, ground ginger, red pepper flakes and the pork belly back to the wok and stir. Cover and simmer on low for 35 minutes.
The pork belly pieces become so succulently tender and the sauce gets richer and deeper in color as it cooks.
After 35 minutes, remove the lid and allow sauce to cook and thicken for 10 minutes more.
Serve this with steamed rice and top with finely chopped chives.
These little nibbles are rich, crispy, succulent and covered in a sweet, sticky and wonderful sauce that has a nice touch of heat. Feel free to omit the red pepper flakes if you like. I love it and hope you will too!
Szechuan Braised Pork Belly
- 1 lb pork belly
- 4 cups water
- 4- inch piece of fresh ginger
- 4 green onions
- 1 Serrano chile
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- chives for garnish
- Cut the pork belly into 1-inch cubes. Slice the ginger into four equal pieces. Trim the ends off the green onions and cut in half. Slice the chile lengthwise. Set all aside.
- In a large wok bring water to boil. Add the sliced ginger, onions, chile and pork belly. Bring back to a boil and turn heat down and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove pork belly from wok and dry with paper towel when cool enough to handle. Discard water and contents from wok.
- Add vegetable oil to hot wok and add pork belly pieces. Stir fry to brown on all sides. Remove from wok and drain on paper towel, set aside.
- To your wok add the brown sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and bubbles. Carefully and quickly add the hot water to the wok and stir to mix thoroughly (this will sputter). Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Chinese Five Spice, ground ginger, red pepper flakes and the pork belly back to the wok and stir. Stir to coat the pork. Cover and simmer on low for 35 minutes.
- Remove the lid and allow sauce to cook and thicken for 10 minutes more. Serve this with steamed rice and top with finely chopped chives.