To continue celebrate Chinese New Year, this is a recipe loved by the whole nation. Every part of China has its own small twist on the recipe, but over all it has to have a shining caramelized look. It is hard to make it right. I think this time I have nailed it.
pork belly (1 kg), sugar (2 tablespoon), ginger (30 g), shallot (3), soy sauce (1/4 cup), Chinese cooking wine (1/4 cup), preserved bean curd (2 squares, optional), dried chilli (2), cinnamon (1 stick), anise star (2), salt, white pepper, canola oil (1 table spoon), water.
What to do:
- Cut pork belly into big chunks.
- Sear each piece of pork belly in a large pot over high heat. Transfer the seared pork belly in a container, set aside.
- At this moment, the pot had some pork fat, which was rendered from the pork belly. Don’t tip the fat out, add sugar in it, reduce heat and allow the sugar slowly caramelize. Cook until sugar is caramelized and starts to bubble.
- Quickly add seared pork belly and keep the heat low. Stir until all the pieces are well coated with caramelized sugar. (This is the secret, which gives the pork belly bright and shining color.)
- Turn the heat back to medium, add ginger, shallot, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, preserved bean curd, dried chilli, cinnamon, anise star, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add hot water until all the meat is submerged. Bring the pot to boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and slowly cook for 3 hours or until pork bellies are soft and melting in your mouth.
- Bring the heat back up to high, uncover the lid and reduce the sauce until most of the water is vaporized and what is left behind is a thick caramelized sauce with clear oil on top.
- Serve with rice and salad.