EXTRA (AP)PETITE: MOM’S CHINESE BRAISED PORK BELLY
1.5lbspork bellycan also try this with pork shoulder, pork ribs, or a mix of two
1tablespoonoilmy mom uses olive or grapeseed
1inchchunk of gingerroughly peeled and sliced
2tablespoonsbrown sugar or Chinese rock sugar
2tablespoonsshaoxing cooking wine
2tablespoonslight soy sauce
2tablespoonsdark soy sauce
Approximately 2 to 3 cups hot waterboil in a kettle or heat it up in microwave
Optional: 2-3 cloves garlicchopped, and 2-3 cloves star anise
Optional Mix-Ins (add during final 30 minutes of braising)
Hard boiled eggspeeled
Potato or taro cubes
Blanch - Boil a pot of water and blanch the meat for 3-5 minutes to get rid of impurities. Remove meat with tongs and cut into 1 inch cubes. Discard the blanching water.
Sauté - In your braising pot, sauté the oil with ginger slices over medium heat until fragrant. Add in meat cubes and cook until lightly browned.
Mix in Sauce - Add cooking wine, sugar, both soy sauces and stir to coat the meat evenly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes to let the sauces seep in.
Simmer Covered - Pour in hot water until the meat pieces are almost covered. (NOTE: If you plan on adding mix-ins like potatoes / taro and eggs, you’ll need a little more water and more sugar, light soy, and dark soy sauce)
Bring to a very gentle simmer (not a big boil, which can make the meat tough) and cover the lid for approximately an hour or more, stirring only very occasionally. Avoid opening the lid too often.
Optional: At this point, my mom removes the meat with a slotted spoon, skims off any visible fat on the top layer, and then puts the meat back into the pot. Or you could just de-fat the leftovers the next day, after they have time to chill in the fridge.
Taste the sauce and adjust soy, sugar, and water ratios to your liking, making sure the water level isn’t drying out. Continue simmering with lid covered for another 30 minutes or until pork is tender. If you’re adding mix-ins, do so in the last 15-20 minutes so the root vegetables don’t get too mushy.
Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium so the sauce reduces down and thickens a bit. Serve hot over jasmine rice!
For tender pork belly: the lower the heat and the longer the meat braises, the more tender it will become. I left this on the stovetop over low heat for almost two hours once while doing chores and it came out melt-in-your mouth delicious!