Before I start with my Chinese pork belly recipe here’s some trivia:
Question: Which country consumes the most amount of pork in the world?
Answer: China, 54.2 million metric tons in 2006. Total world consumption 98.9 million metric tons.
That’s more than 50% of all pigs in the world. I guess that makes sense since a lot of Chinese dishes have pork. Dim Sum, pork short ribs, BBQ pork, pork knuckles, roast whole pig, pepper and salt pork chop, minced pork, etc. You get the idea.
Personally, I love pork, I think it’s one of the most flavorful meats out there. It also has great texture, can be cooked in a variety of ways, and it’s inexpensive compared to beef. In fact, North Carolina loves pork, pulled/chopped pork is a staple here.
So here is my Chinese braised pork belly recipe. It’s fairly quick and easy, although the cooking time is a few hours long. The tip is to set everything up early, pop it in a crock pot, set it and forget it. Generally if I’m lazy, I’ll make some rice, put some pork on it and eat away. But in this post I’ll show you a few other easy things you can make with it for a more comprehensive meal. So here we go!
Difficulty Level: 1 – Heat, stir, and have a beer.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3.5 hours
Real people serving size:4
Braised Pork Belly
2-3 lbs pork belly
1 Medium chunk of Rock Candy (half the size of a golf ball) or 2 tablespoons of sugar
6 cloves of garlic (smashed)
3 slices of ginger
4 whole star anise
1 tsp of whole peppercorns
2 whole red chillies (totally optional, I like it a little spicy)
3 tbs shao xing cooking wine
1/2 cup of soy sauce (or 1/4-1/2 cup of dark soy sauce depending on salt level)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbs salt as necessary
1 tbs vegetable oil
4 cups of water (just enough to almost cover the pork belly)
4 hard boiled eggs (or more if you love eggs)
Chinese Braising Spice Packet
As an alternative you can also use our Chinese Braising Spice Packet. It contains all the dry ingredients in a simple convenient spice pouch. Just place it in with the wet ingredients and you’re done. Try it today.
First dry the pork belly and give it a good sear in the Dutch oven (or stainless steel pot), at least 15 min. Then add the ginger and garlic and brown a little in the oil. Then dump in all the other ingredients and set it on low and braise for 2-3 hours. Your cooking time will vary depending on your stove and what your “low setting” is, so check after 1.5-2 hours and you can test how tender the pork is. The longer you cook the more tender it will be. I love to be able cut it with a fork, so I braise it a tad longer, generally 2-2.5 hours. You’ll probably never have to go over 3 hours, otherwise your low setting is waaayyy tooo low.
If you prefer using the oven then pre-heat to 325°F and bake for 2-3 hours. You can also cook the pork belly in a slower cooker (crock pot) but it’ll probably take longer.
Last tip, the boiled eggs get a little tough during the process so you can put it in at the beginning for more flavor or during the last hour for a softer but less flavorful egg. (picture shows 2 hour egg) You can also take it one step further by taking a cup of the braising liquid and reducing it down until it’s thick. It makes a great sauce for the pork belly and rice.
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
10 baby bok choy stalks
It’s super easy.
1. Cut off the ends of the bok choy and wash. Some people might like it whole so you can leave it whole also.
2. Heat oil, make sure it’s hot!
3. Put in minced garlic and stir, maybe 30 seconds, make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. Toss in the bok choy, stir and toss. Should be a few minutes. It generally cooks fast and continues to cook once the fire is off. But you can cook it on your personal taste some people like it really soft, I prefer it slightly crunchy.
(optional) If you don’t want to stir fry it simply salt some boiling water and boil it for a minute or two. Once the green color brightens start thinking about taking it out. It should cook pretty fast in boiling water.
Once everything is cooked get a bed of rice, place the pork belly, egg, and some bok choy on top of it. Drizzle some sauce (great on rice) on top of the pork belly. Garnish with some preserved mustard and cilantro. Then pig out! That’s it. Oh you can also put the braised pork belly in ramen!
You can apply this braising recipe to almost any cut of pork or type of meat. In fact, Chinese people usually use this braising liquid with a hodge podge of meats. I also use this recipe for intestine, ribs, pork knuckle, ham hock, etc. And some people even save it and continually use it and reuse to to increase the flavor of braising liquid.
Good Luck and post any questions or suggestions you have about this recipe.
Fried rice, sounds simple eh. Well it is. Especially hot dog fried rice. While growing up, unlike my friends who ate hot dogs in a bun, burgers or pasta, I ate fried rice. It was a staple in my house along with frozen Stouffer’s mac and cheese, totally unrelated story and I’ll share if you’re interested, just comment below. In any case, fried rice was easy to make and there are about a million and one variations on how to make it. Being a bachelor I’ve never gone to the grocery store with the intention of buying ingredients for fried rice. It was more like, “Damn! I’m hungry and all I got in my fridge is a hot dog, ketchup, and mayo.” So my only options were to make fried rice or drink lots of water. (college, high school, unemployed = no money for buns or anything else)
Well today’s version of hot dog fried rice is a little different from what I usually make but then again I generally don’t make the same fried rice twice. I looked in my fridge and I have half a pack of beef hot dogs, some baby bok choy, and 5 eggs. Perfect for some hot dog fried rice with bok choy.
Difficulty Level: 1 – Heat, stir, and have a beer.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Real people serving size:2
2 hot dogs (depending on what brand you get it will change the taste slightly,
beef vs turkey, nathan’s vs ball park, etc)
3 small heads of baby bok choy
1 -1.5 cups of rice (precooked)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
They say that using day old rice makes fried rice taste better and for the most part I agree with that, but it also highly depends on the type of rice you have, how you cooked the original rice, how old it is, and how you like your fried rice. Some people like it a little drier where the kernels are separated but some people like it a little more soft and with some moisture. It just all depends on personal preference. For this fried rice I used freshly cooked jasmine rice so it’ll be a little softer but and if you cook it right then it won’t clump together.
Cut the hot dog to small pieces.
Cut the bok choy into small strips.
Mince the garlic.
Scramble the eggs.
First I have a nice size fry pan, make sure it’s large enough to fit everything and still gives you room to stir otherwise you’ll have fried rice everywhere! Heat the vegetable oil in the fry pan until hot. Then add the minced garlic and fry lightly for 10 seconds. Move the garlic to the sides of the pan and add in the scrambled egg. Don’t worry if some garlic mixes in, it’ll all be together in the end. After the eggs are scrambled then add the hot dog and bok choy.
Add a dash of salt and white pepper. Stir fry all those ingredients until the bok choy is starting to wilt. Once that happens add in the cooked rice.
Now this is probably the hardest part of the entire recipe. Mix the rice in with the other ingredients without spilling it all over the cook top. Some patience is needed in this step. Now add in the soy sauce and if you like hot sauce you can add some here as well. In fact, add any other flavoring you want at this point. Now simple stir, mix, flip, fry till your desired consistency. I usually like it not dryer than wetter but not too dry. Okay that was confusing. Try 4 minutes, taste and add salt, pepper, or more soy sauce if needed. Then cook longer if you’d like. The important part is that everything is mixed together well.
Like I said earlier, there are a million and one ways to make fried rice. So you can add in anything and make it any flavor you want. Yes, it is probably dangerous for me to recommend that since there are just as many ways to screw up fried rice. It’s kinda like watching people go to mongolian bbq and watching what some people put into their bowl. Scary…but then again each to their own. So cook according to what you like.
Some options would be ground beef, frozen peas and carrots, bean sprouts, left over chicken, ketchup, sriracha, five spice, chinese bbq sauce, onions, grilled pork chop leftover, tomatoes, green beans etc. Also the longer you fry rice the dryer it gets so if you’re rice is too wet you may want to fry the rice first and then add in the ingredients later. It’s endless and in the future I’ll provide more variations of fried rice that I like.
Remember it’s easy, just use what you have in the fridge and experiment. (Ketchup fried rice is great I’ll post that one up in the future.)