I wasn’t a fan of fatty food till I tasted this dish about 3 years ago when our family had dinner with a friend in a restaurant and my husband ordered Dong Po Rou (Braised Pork Belly /东坡肉) (to go with mantou (Chinese steam bun / 馒头). Initially, I was quite reluctant to try it but after much reassurance that it is very delicious, I decided to take a plunge into it. To my amazement, though the meat has layer of fats and lean meat, it was cook so well that the fats literally melts in my mouth.
With this pleasant experience, my interest in cooking this dish was birthed. It was of late, I also learnt from my sister that the pig’s skin also contain collagen which is much needed when you are getting ahem, “younger”. Hahaha.
Well, joke aside, it is always interesting to know the brief history or origin of a dish and if you are interested, read on. Otherwise, you may skip to the recipe below and get your hands working on this dish.
Dong Po Rou is an iconic feature of Hangzhou (杭州) cuisine and can be attributed to Su Shi (苏轼) a.k.a Su Dongpo (苏东坡), a scholar and court official during the Song Dynasty (宋朝), renowned today for his brilliance in poetry, calligraphy, and writings in Chinese literary history. You may read more using this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongpo_pork
Oh well, we should get started now as it will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours before we can sink our teeth into this piece of deliciously flavoured tender meat with its fats melting in your mouth. Once you have tried this recipe, we hope that you could provide us with some feed feedback/comments. Like and follow us on Beyond Norm’s Facebook Page and subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Instagram (@TheRealBeyondNorm) and YouTube (@BeyondNormEats), to get the latest exciting updates and videos. We would also like to welcome you to join our Mummy’s Kitchen Facebook Group for food lovers like you, whether newbie or veteran.
Serves 4 to 5 persons
WHAT YOU NEED
Clay pot, Dutch oven or stainless steel pot
1kg pork belly, skin on (I cooked 1.8kg which serves 15 persons)
2 tablespoon salt
100gm spring onions + additional spring onions to put in the mantou
50 gm ginger (weighed with skin on)
300ml Shao Xing Wine
120gm premium light soy sauce
80gm premium dark soy sauce (if you prefer darker you can add another 20gm)
70gm rock sugar
Some corn flour
Some Chinese tea leaves and soak them in water (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
5 cloves of garlic
- Coat the pork belly with salt and let it rest for ½ hour to 45 mins to remove the impurities then rinse under tap water and set aside.
- Cut spring onions into 3-inch lengths and line them on the base of the pot.
- Slice ginger with skin on and scatter over the spring onions.
- Put the washed pork belly onto the spring onions and sliced ginger (skin side down).
- Pour in light and dark soy sauce.
- Add in the rock sugar.
- Add in the spices.
- Add in the Shao Xing wine.
- Add some water (I added some tea too) to make sure the pork is at least almost covered with liquid.
- Bring pot to a boil on high heat, reduce to low and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours (flipping the pork halfway), or until it is tender enough to be easily poked through with a chopstick.
- Remove pork belly (without the gravy) from the pot and put into a steaming dish, skin side up.
- Steam on high heat for 30 minutes. (This is a crucial step, do not skip this as it will be make the meat tender)
- After dishing out the pork belly, boil the sauce at low heat and add some salt if you find the sauce too sweet. Then add cornflour to thicken the sauce.
- After steaming the pork belly, let it cool down, then slice it to the desired thickness, (I cut it about 1 ½ cm thick) and place them in a serving tray or pot.
- Pour hot gravy over pork and served with white rice or mantou.
*Put some sauce into the cornflour and mix well before pouring the cornflour into the sauce to thicken, this will prevent lumps of flour being formed in the sauce.
*Some recipes suggested cutting the pork belly into 2-inch cubes and then tying them with food safety string but I prefer to use the whole slab to braise.
*Try to use the Shaoxing ‘Hua Tiao’ wine as it will add a more robust and richer flavour to the dish. But, if you can only find the regular Shaoxing wine, you can still make do with it.