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.