Red-Braised Pork Belly or Hong Shao Rou is a very popular Chinese dish that is enjoyed all throughout the year. It is soft and tender and full of delicious flavors that will bring a smile to your mouths. And in this Red-Braised Pork Belly recipe, you will learn how to make the most authentic version of it.
Red-Braised Pork Belly / Hong Shao Rou / 红烧肉 is one of my most favorite things to eat of all time.
After all, it is super tender and the pieces of fat literally melts in your mouth.
This is one dish that has become a staple in my family as we tend to have it every other week. Every person in my family loves this dish and literally will be begging for it all the time.
It use to be a family tradition whenever my mom use to make this dish because the entire family will come together and try to help her cook this delicious meal. We would then usually pair it up with a bowl of rice or even noodles as this pork belly dish can go well with almost any type of food.
And in this post, I’ll be showing you exactly how to make this delicious dish.
It will require a bit of time in order to make this, but this is one dish I guarantee you will absolutely fall in love with.
What Is Red-Braised Pork Belly?
Red-Braised Pork Belly / Hong Shao Rou / 红烧肉, is a popular classic pork dish from mainland China.
It uses a style of cooking called the red-braising style.
For this dish, it will have the pork belly and a variety of ingredients. Usually common ingredients will include ginger, garlic, aromatic spices, sugar, star anise, light and dark soy sauce, rice wine and others to make a dish that is extremely tasty and delicious.
Typically the pork belly will have the skin on. The pork belly with then be cut into 1 inch thick pieces.
Making this dish is quite time consuming as depending on how tender you want your pork to be, it can either be 1 to 2 hours of cooking time.
Why Is It Called Red-Braised?
Red-Braised is a style of Chinese cooking in which you braise the food to give it a certain color.
Most often, the color of the dish will become a reddish brown color that is very appealing to the eyes.
There are many ingredients which can be used to infuse a reddish brown color to the dish. Most commonly however is the use of either soy sauce, brown sugar, fermented bean paste, or others. And in some cases, food coloring may also be added to help add a bright red color finish to the dish.
Usually making a red-braised dish involves using a lot of ingredients, however they are used in moderation to not overwhelm the flavors of the dish.
Red cooking is popular throughout most of northern, eastern, and southeastern China.
Ingredients To Make Red-Braised Pork Belly
To make Red-Braised Pork Belly / Hong Shao Rou / 红烧肉, you will need quite a few ingredients.
The good thing is that most of these ingredients are easily found at any of your Asian supermarkets.
The ingredients you’ll need to make this consists of:
- Pork Belly – 1 Pound
- Vegetable Oil – 2 Tablespoons
- Green Onions – 2 Whole Sticks
- Minced Garlic Cloves – 4 Cloves
- Ginger Slices – 5 Slices
- Brown Sugar – 1/2 Cup
- Rice Wine – 1/4 Cup
- Water – 2 Cups
- Light Soy Sauce – 1/2 Cup
- Dark Soy Sauce – 1/4 Cup
- Star Anise – 1 Piece
As you can see, the ingredients here are all very simple and easy to find.
In fact, the majority of the ingredients used in this dish are actually seasonings or flavor enhancers. The star of this dish is the pork belly and we make sure to use only enough ingredients where it wouldn’t overwhelm the flavor of the pork belly.
How To Make Red-Braised Pork Belly
Making Red-Braised Pork Belly / Hong Shao Rou / 红烧肉 is a relatively simple thing to do.
The only thing is that it takes quite a bit of time.
Depending on how soft and tender you want your pork belly to be, it can range anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours.
But the process should be pretty simple.
The process to make red-braised pork belly is as followed:
First if you haven’t already done so, take your pork belly and cut it into small chunks, around 1 inch thick should be good enough.
Then grab your wok or pan and heat up some oil over medium-high heat.
Once the heat is hot enough, you’ll want to put your pork belly pieces inside in a single layer. Make sure each piece is having some sort of direct contact with the bottom of the pan.
Cook the pork belly without turning until it has slightly browned on one side. Then flip the pieces over and cook the other side until slightly brown as well. After that, remove the pork belly pieces from the pan and set it aside.
In the same pan, you’ll want to add your chopped green onions, garlic and ginger into it. Then stir the contents around until it starts sizzling and becomes fragrant. This should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
After that, add in the brown sugar. Make sure to continue to stir things around until it starts bubbling. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
Now you’ll want to return your pork belly pieces back into the pan. Stir everything around so that the pork belly pieces will get coated with the delicious sauce.
Add the rice wine into the pan and bring it to a boil. Make sure to continue to stir things around.
Now you’ll want to add in your water, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and the star anise to the pan. Then bring it back into a boil.
Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid.
Let the mixture cook for about 1 hour at least for the pork belly to get super tender. Preferably 2 hours, but if you don’t have the time, then 1 hour should be fine.
After time is up, check on the pork belly. Use a toothpick or chopstick to poke the pork belly. You’ll know the pork belly is done once it is soft to the touch. Turn off the heat and plate the pork belly.
How To Store/Keep This Dish
Storing Red-Braised Pork Belly / Hong Shao Rou / 红烧肉 is actually a pretty simple thing to do.
All you need to do to store it is to keep it inside an air tight container. Then you can put it in the fridge and it should keep well for around 3 to 4 days.
As for freezing, you can freeze this dish if you want, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. The reason for that is because the texture won’t be as good as it was when made fresh.
But don’t worry, you most likely won’t have to store this dish away as the minute you make it, it will be long gone.
Red-Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Hong Shao Rou 红烧肉)
- 1 Pound Pork Belly
- 2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 2 Sticks Chopped Green Onion
- 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 5 Slices Ginger
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Rice Wine
- 2 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Light Soy Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 Star Anise
- If you haven't already, grab a chopping board and chop your pork belly into 1 inch thick slices.
- Grab a wok or a pan and heat some oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, put in your pork belly pieces. Make sure to arrange them in a single layer so that each piece has direct contact with the bottom of the pan.Cook until the bottom side has slightly browned. Then flip the pieces over and cook the other side until it is slightly browned as well.Once the pork belly has become slightly browned on both sides, remove them from the pan and set it aside.
- To the same pan, you'll want to add in your chopped green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir the contents around until it starts to sizzle and you can smell the fragrant smell. This should take about 30 seconds to a minute.
- After that, you'll want to add in your brown sugar and continue to stir things around. You want to keep stirring it until it starts bubbling which should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Return the cooked pork belly pieces back into the pan and stir it around to coat it with the sauce.
- Add rice wine to the mixture and bring it to a boil. Make sure to continue to stir things around. Then you'll want to add in the water, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and star anise to the mixture. Continue to stir things around and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook for about 1 to 2 hours or until the pork belly has become super tender and red-stained.
- After time is up, check on the pork belly. If it is soft and tender, turn off the heat and plate the pork belly. Serve immediately.
Did you try making my Red-Braised Pork Belly / Hong Shao Rou / 红烧肉? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.