Pork Recipe: Chinese Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce
Are you craving for a pork belly recipe or it is just me?
It has been a month since our family had any pork dish for dinner as the price of pork meat , regardless of the body parts are more expensive than chicken and fish.
Hence, our family consume pork dish once a month in order to cut down cost and calories too.
What is pork belly?
Pork belly is half meat, half fats plus the skin from the belly of a pig. It is usually boneless and a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine especially Chinese and Korean food.
What are the nutrition in pork?
Do not be surprised. Frankly speaking, pork has its' benefits too. They are:
- Pork has an excellent source of vitamin B, iron and protein.
- The vitamin B in pork is particularly helpful to reduce stress and tensions.
- In addition vitamin B6 with zinc helps women, ladies and young teens to ease PMS symptoms too.
Majority of modern pig breeds are low in fats as long as you avoid consuming the crackling ( well-cooked skin of roast pork, usually crispy and oily ). Nevertheless, pork has a little more fats than chicken , if you compare with these 2 domestic animals.
Choose lean pork chops and pork loin which contain modest amount of fats as pork belly has the most fats. Hence, always request the butcher for pork belly with less fats and more meat for healthier choice. It is advisable to purchase organic pork rather than the usual as these pigs are fed with organic food where you will get the lowest cholesterol and less calories pork meat even though you may have to pay a little more money.
2 Varieties of Chinese Braised Pork Belly
There are 2 versions of Chinese Braised Pork Belly cooked in soy sauce. The Hainanese and Hokkein cooking methods.
- The Hainanese braised pork belly uses sweet ingredients such as red dates, Shaoxiang wine; a Chinese cooking wine and button mushrooms. On the other hand, the Hokkien community uses hard boiled eggs, spices such as star anise and cinnamon bark, pressed beancurd and beancurd puff.
- The main ingredient which is the pork belly, is either sliced thickly, thinly or diced as according to each Chinese household traditional style of cooking. The main sauce remain unchanged for both Hainanese and Hokkein households. One or two tablespoon of oyster sauce, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce that are either marinate with the pork belly or add in later when the pork is semi-cooked.
- This Chinese Braised Pork Belly dish requires fats from the pork belly itself in order to produce the tender, juicy, aromatic and tasty pork. Lean pork and chicken meat could not produce the same result as pork belly does, trust me. It just taste isn’t right.
- If you are afraid of the excess calories that will put you on weight, remove the fats and skin from the cooked braised pork belly before eating. In addition, run around your house compound for 20 minutes to shed off your fear. I doubt having a few slices of pork belly would put you on weight since it is braised, not fried or roasted.
How To Cook Chinese Braised Pork Belly - Hainanese StyleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Ingredients to Prepare:
- 600g pork belly ( san zhen rou- Chinese), sliced thickly
- 100g button mushrooms, quartered
- 2-4 pieces beancurd puffs, sliced thickly
- 1/2 big onion, cut into 1/2
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of the kitchen knife
- 8 pieces red dates, pitted and cut into 1/2
- 3-4 rice bowls Water, for braising
- 1 tbs Shaoxiang wine, Chinese cooking wine
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 30 min
- Ready in: 40 min
- Yields: 4 people
- 1 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tbs dark soy sauce
- 1tsp pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
Why use braise technique?
- Braise technique is used in this pork belly recipe as the pork meat are harder to chew compare to lean pork.
- Hence, braising the pork belly for 30 minutes or more will help to enhance the tenderness of the pork, delicious juicy and tasty black soy sauce that goes well with white rice and steamed buns.
- Braised technique is easy but not quick as it is time consuming.
- Get a deep pot, throw in all the ingredients together and pour in sufficient water , enough to cover the surface of the ingredients.
- Let them simmer under medium fire for the 1st 10 minutes and then turn to low fire for the rest 20 minutes.
- If you want to save the gas, braise the pork belly in a crock pot or slow cooker which will definitely induce much tender pork belly meat.
Marinate pork belly with sauces
- Wash pork belly under running tap water. Make sure that all the dirt and pig's hair are removed.
- Cut pork belly into thin slices in order to have soft and tender pork. Thick slices of pork belly may take longer time to braise .
- Rinse the sliced pork belly and drain well.
- Put the sliced pork belly in a big bowl.
- Season with the marinate sauces. Mix well with a stainless steel spoon.
- Cover the bowl with a plate or a plastic wrap.
- Allow the pork to marinate for 20 min or even longer.
Step - by-Step Instructions :
- Heat up 1 tbs of oil in a deep pot or crock pot. Stir fry big onion and smashed garlic until you can smell fragrant aroma.
- Add in button mushrooms and the marinated pork belly pieces into the crock pot (deep pot ). Stir fry for a while.
- Add in the sliced red dates and mix well so that all the ingredients are well coated with the sauces.
- Pour in sufficient water that covers the brim of the pork belly pieces. Bring to boil for 10 minutes at medium fire ( heat ).
- Simmer the pork stew under low fire for another 30 minutes or until the pork belly pieces are tender. Remember to retain a little sauce for the pork belly. Taste nice with whit rice.
- Add in Shaoxiang wine ( chinese cooking wine ) and stir well.
- Turn off heat. Serve hot with white rice.
Into My Tummy Time !
Tips for a delicious stew:
- Do not use a wok to simmer pork stew as the top layer of sauce dries up easily and you need to continuously add in water to simmer the pork meat. Takes much longer time compare to deep pot. Use a deep pot ( soup pot ) , crock pot or slow cooker. These big pots ensure all the sauces will absorb into the pork meat and enhance the chances for the meat to become tender.
- After 10 minutes into simmering, stir well the sauces before using a teaspoon to test out the sauce. The reason to stir the sauce is to ensure that all the thick and thin sauces are all well blend together as thick sauce will usually sink at the bottom.
- If it taste a little bland, add in 1 tsp of black soy sauce or light soy sauce . Stir again to ensure that the soy sauce is mixed together.
- When you use braising technique , do not leave the pot unattended. Remember to check out the sauce often so that it doesn’t dry out and burnt the pork belly instead. Make it a habit to check at every 15 minutes or set a kitchen timer in order to remind you to check out.
- Use a stainless steel fork to test out the tenderness of the pork belly. Poke it by pressing down the pork meat portion, not the fatty part. If it is still hard, add in more water to simmer further on, maybe another 10 minutes or so.
- A wise way to have tender and juicy meat, allow longer simmer time. Best choice would be using the slow cooker; cook from the morning until dinner time at low function. Do not turn to “high” switch as the sauce will dry up by afternoon and uses high electricity consumption too.
- For more ingredient choices, add in beancurd puffs that are cut into cubes, beancurd sheets cut into squares ore cubes of pressed beancurd into the pork stew at least 10-15 minutes before you turn off the heat. Do not use soft beancurd as it will mash it small pieces and spoil the taste.
© 2013 peachy