The Chinese New Year festivities for 2024 began last Saturday, and feasting to celebrate the year of Dragon is set to continue for a while yet. Culminating in the Lantern Festival on February 24th.
Given that pork is such an honoured and staple ingredient in Chinese cuisine, the opportunity to cook a variety of porcine dishes during this period does not go unmissed at Turner & George.
Because, well, we just love Chinese food and we are also rather partial to pork!
This traditional method of braising pork belly, also known as ‘Hong Shao Rou’ in Mandarin, demonstrates an alchemy that comes from applying some simple processes, all inherent to Chinese cooking.
Below is Richard H. Turner’s own particular approach from HOG, and in Chef’s own words:
‘Red-cooking is a Chinese technique using caramel, soy sauce and occasionally fermented bean paste to impart a reddish-brown hue to slow-cooked meat. The Chinese are wizards with pork, and to my mind this is Chinese pork cookery at its absolute best.’
It really is and like all the best things in life, it should be enjoyed all year around.
Enjoy and Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Ingredients - serves 4
100g interesting sugar (palm, maple or muscovado)
30ml sesame oil
3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 fresh red chilli
5g fennel seeds
50ml light soy sauce
50ml Worcestershire sauce
250ml Shaoxing wine
250ml chicken stock
250ml veal stock
Place the pork in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the pork and allow to dry.
Put the sugar into the same pan with a ladle of water and heat until a syrup forms and it just starts to caramelise. Add the blanched pork and coat with the syrup, continuing to caramelise for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or nonstick frying pan. Add the ginger slices and garlic and fry for 1 minute, then add the remaining spices. Fry for another minute, then add the light soy, Worcestershire sauce and Shaoxing wine. Add this mixture to the pork pan and pour over the stocks. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender. (This will vary according to cut>)
Remove the pork and sieve the sauce to remove all the spices. Return the sauce to the pan and reduce over a medium heat to a thick sticky syrup.
Return the pork to the pan and warm through gently. Serve with steamed green vegetables and rice.