Authentic Shanghai-style braised pork belly simmered in rich and dark soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, caramelized with brown sugar along with fresh ginger, garlic, green onion, and star anise. This is a true Chinese dish you can make in your own kitchen.

Authentic Shanghai-style braised pork belly simmered in rich and dark soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, caramelized with brown sugar along with fresh ginger, garlic, green onion, and star anise. This is a true Chinese dish you can make in your own kitchen.

Born and raised in Shanghai, China, I am often asked the same question whenever a conversation related to cuisine initiates. The question is “What is the number one classic Shanghainese dish?” My answer is consistently braised pork belly and it will always be, without a doubt.

Since many friends and family members request that I make it during gatherings, I’ve had a chance to cook the recipe countless times and eventually to perfect it. And that includes lots of Skype calls with my mom considering the braised pork belly is one of her signature dishes.

I have to admit that this is not an easy and quick recipe like I usually share on this blog. To make the braised pork belly melt-in-your-mouth tender with a rich, thick and deeply flavored sauce, you ought to have the patience and put in the time. Are you with me? Yes?! Great, because it’s well worth the effort!

Now that the expectations are set, here are a few key steps to ensure your success in cooking the most authentic Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly.

Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly with Hard-Boiled Eggs

Water-Velvet The Pork Belly

First and foremost, properly prepare your pork belly. If you haven’t heard of velveting, it’s a cooking technique for meat used in Chinese cooking. In fact, it’s considered the best-kept Chinese restaurant secret. A typical practice of velveting meat includes two steps. 1) Marinate sliced meat in egg white, cornstarch and cooking wine. 2) Drop the marinated meat into hot oil for a quick blanch and drain. Then, it’s ready for stir-fry. As a result of velveting, the meat is extremely tender and silky smooth in texture.

While oil-velveting is commonly used in Chinese restaurants, it’s not really practical for home cooks unless you do a lot of deep-frying at home. So Chinese home cooks use a technique called water-velveting. Instead of briefly blanch the meat in oil, you blanch it in boiling water. The end result of the meat is similarly good and it’s much more home kitchen friendly.

In this recipe, the first step is to blanch the pork belly chunks in boiling water. It’s a crucial step to ensure the tenderness of the pork after a couple hours of cooking. Unlike preparing for stir-fries, in this case, you don’t need to marinate the pork before water-velveting it because the flavor comes in while slow simmering. After blanching, you want to drain the pork really well.

Dry The Pork and Brown in Oil. Be Careful!

OK, say the pork is drained. Still, considering that it just took a hot water bath, and now I am gonna ask you to place it in hot oil. We all know what happens when water meets hot oil. The oil explodes and that’s what we want to minimize here. In order to do so, you want to dry your drained pork as much as possible. I usually use paper towels to soak up as much water as possible from the surface of the pork.

The next step is to heat up oil, fry sugar until melted, and brown all sides of the pork belly chunks. There might be excess water on the pork, so when you place the chunks in hot oil to brown, be extremely careful but don’t be scared. The oil popping will be minimum. If you want, step a little further away from your stove but make sure you can still reach the pork with a spatula or tongs to flip and brown the pork. This step won’t take long.

Authentic Shanghai-style braised pork belly simmered in rich and dark soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, caramelized with brown sugar along with fresh ginger, garlic, green onion, and star anise. This is a true Chinese dish you can make in your own kitchen.

Prepare The Cooking Liquid

Here comes the best part of the recipe – the cooking liquid, which is infused with fresh ginger, garlic, green onion, and star anise. The cooking liquid for this braised pork belly calls for dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce, Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine, and chicken bone broth.

And the soy sauces here are not substitutable with other condiments. So this is not a gluten-free recipe. The dark soy sauce is thicker and richer in flavor. It also gives the pork a nice dark red color. The regular soy sauce is mostly for enhancing the flavor.

Cooking wine is not something you can skip for this recipe. I’d highly recommend Shaoxing wine for cooking this recipe to keep the authenticity. However, Sherry can also be used if you don’t want to buy a bottle of Chinese cooking wine.

As for the added broth, it can be substituted with water. But why use water if there’s a nutritious and tasty bone broth available like the Kettle & Fire chicken bone broth? You can also use low-sodium chicken broth but the bone broth is much healthier and flavorful.

Once you got the cooking liquid done, the rest is easy to follow.

Hard-boiled eggs braised with Shanghai-style pork belly

Add Whole Hard-Boiled Eggs When It’s Almost Done

This is an optional step but my mom always adds hard-boiled eggs to her braised pork belly dish, so it’s sort of a family tradition for me now. I’d recommend you give it a try because you are going to make some best tasting hard-boiled eggs with the delicious sauce.

Ideally, your hard-boiled eggs are not well done with the yolks. You want them to be firm to the touch but still, have somewhat soft yolks. So it’d be easy to handle and you still have room to continue cooking the eggs along with the pork without overcooking them.

You want to add the peeled eggs after simmering the pork for at least an hour. Don’t cut the eggs before cooking with the pork, otherwise, the egg yolks will break easily. Braise the whole eggs first and cut them in half when ready to serve.

Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly with Hard-Boiled Eggs

That’s it. Above are the most important steps of this recipe. I hope I explained well. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Really hope you love this recipe as much as we do. Enjoy!

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Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly with Hard-Boiled Eggs

Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly with Hard-Boiled Eggs


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

Authentic Shanghai-style braised pork belly simmered in rich and dark soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, caramelized with brown sugar along with fresh ginger, garlic, green onion, and star anise. This is a true Chinese dish you can make in your own kitchen.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork belly, cut into 1.5-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar or rock sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or Sherry)
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth (or low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 stems green onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add pork chunks into the water and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain well and place on a large plate lined with a couple layers of paper towels. Set aside.
  2. Heat up a large sauté pan or a wok over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add oil and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved in the oil.
  3. Meanwhile, pat the pork dry with additional paper towels. Once the sugar is melted, increase heat to medium and carefully add pork into the pan. (The oil might pop due to excess water from the pork. Don’t stay too close to the stove and be careful.) Brown all sides of the pork. Flip and let it brown undisturbed, about 30-45 seconds on each side.
  4. Once the pork is browned, add dark soy sauce into the pan, stir to combine. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Now, place regular soy sauce, cooking wine, broth, star anise, green onions, ginger, and garlic into the pan. Depending on the size of your cookware, the cooking liquid should come halfway up the pile of the park. if not, simply add more broth. Bring to a boil, then switch to low heat to simmer, covered, for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Uncover, add eggs and gently push it into the cooking liquid, basting for a few times. Cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
  7. When the pork is fork tender, sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar and increase heat to medium, cook uncovered to let the cooking liquid evaporate and thicken, about 10 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, transfer eggs to a plate and cut in half. Serve the pork belly with braised eggs over rice.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 635
  • Sugar: 22.8g
  • Sodium: 713.2mg
  • Fat: 50.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 16.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.7g
  • Fiber: 0.3g
  • Protein: 13.4g
  • Cholesterol: 179.3mg
Authentic Shanghai-style braised pork belly simmered in rich and dark soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, caramelized with brown sugar along with fresh ginger, garlic, green onion, and star anise. This is a true Chinese dish you can make in your own kitchen.

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