Red-braised pork, or 红烧肉, is about as scandalously sinful as a dish comes. There are many local twists to this dish, but the general method for making it — slow-braising caramelized cubes of pork belly — is largely the same the country over. It’s little wonder it was the Great Helmsman’s favourite dish.
- 500 g skin-on pork belly
- 1 star anise
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking/sherry wine
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 scallions (optional)
- Cut pork belly into 3 cm cubes and set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok on low heat. Add brown sugar to the wok and melting it slightly.
- Turn up the heat, add the pork cube in the wok and brown it with the caramelized sugar for about 5 minutes.
- Add dark and light soy sauce, and cooking wine to pork, mixing well for 2 minutes.
- Turn down the heat, add 2 cups of water to the wok (enough to cover over the pork), add star anise, cover the wok and let it simmer for about 40 minutes -- giving it a stir every 6-7 minutes to prevent burning and add more water if gets too dry.
- Once the meat is tender, turn up the heat, and remove the lid to reduce the liquid, stirring continuously until the sauce reduces to a smooth consistency (~5 min.).
- Place contents of wok on a serving plate, sprinkle finely chopped scallions over the dish and serve with rice or steamed buns.