This is the first recipe in our simple suppers series. We will be posting more in the coming months & are keen to hear your favourite ideas for quick, healthy meals.
Depending on your viewpoint pork belly might not seem like a particularly healthy meal. I think it is fine to eat sometimes & have included this recipe as it is nutritious, easy to prepare and is really tasty. You can take some of the fat off the pork – I did this after cooking so that the meat stayed soft & moist & flavoursome. The braise takes a little while but if you shove it in a low oven or slow cooker it does not need watching. It should take 10 minutes before and about 5 minutes to finish off after cooking.
Chinese rice wine is widely available and useful for lots of dishes so it is worth investing in a bottle, it costs just a few pounds. I love it in stir fries and one of my all time favourite things, masterstock. The recipe is for 4 people I would recommend making all of it even if you don’t want to eat it all straight away as it freezes and reheats well. I am really enjoying learning more about Chinese cooking and The Woks of Life is one of the best blogs I have seen for Chinese recipes. It has lots of simple recipes which are quick to prepare as well as some more involved cooking and lots of interesting facts about Chinese cuisine.
Chinese Braised Pork Belly
Ingredients (Serves 4):
500g pork belly
2 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
3 tbsp sugar (preferable brown but its not too important)
6 tbsp Chinese rice wine
3 tbsp dark soy (or 5tbsp light soy)
3 tbsp corn starch
Rice and/or steamed vegetables to serve
1. Cut the pork belly into cubes (they will shrink in cooking so make them a bit larger than bite sized). Drop these into boiling water (in small batches) for a couple of minutes to get rid of impurities. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, Roughly chop 2 spring onions, 2 cloves garlic & a thumb sized piece of ginger. Stir fry these in 1 tbsp vegetable oil for a few minutes.
3. Add 1/2 tsp 5 Spice Powder & fry for 10 seconds.
4. Add 3 tbsp brown sugar, 6 tbsp rice wine & 3 tbsp dark soy sauce. Bring to the boil & add 400ml warm water. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
5. Add pork & braise slowly for 3 hours (keep a lid on the pan or put it in a casserole or slow cooker, make sure the cooking pot is well sealed as you don’t want the cooking liquid to evaporate away).6. Remove the pork and sieve the liquid. Return the liquid to the wok & bring to the boil. Taste.
7. If it is too watery boil the liquid until strong flavour is achieved.
8. Mix 3 tbsp corn starch with cold water & add bit by bit to the boiling liquid to thicken.