Braised shaoxing pork belly with greens

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This wonderful bowl of braised pork belly really hits the nail on the head when it comes to comfort food! With a few simple vegetables, aromatics, cupboard staples and a good helping of rich, fatty pork belly, you can build incredible depth of flavour into this broth. The beauty of using pork belly is that the fat slowly renders into the broth too, giving it that lovely gelatinous texture.

First published in 2019

This is a really simple, delicious way to put a meal on the table if you have some pork belly or pork belly slices in the fridge – most of the other ingredients are things you're likely to have in your cupboards, with the exception perhaps of Shaoxing wine.

Shaoxing is a fermented rice wine – it's the cornerstone of a lot of Chinese cooking, but certainly not as ubiquitous as something like soy sauce in the UK. Different Shaoxing's can have quite different flavour profiles, but the majority of the easily available wines in the UK lend a mellow sweetness to dishes – one that works perfectly with fatty pork belly.

The beauty of braising pork belly in this way is two-fold – you get a beautiful soft, melting texture from the meat, but it also renders lots of pork fat into the liquid, and that gelatine gives the final broth a really luscious texture that coats your noodles.

Feel free to mix up the vegetables to your tastes, we like something with a bit of crunch and something leafy, but you can really use anything you like!





Start by blanching the pork belly lardons – this is a common technique used in China to remove impurities from the meat. Bring a pot of water to the boil, then blanch the meat for a minute or two. Remove the pork belly, rinse under cold water and set aside
Pour a splash of oil into a large casserole pot, and put it over a medium high heat. Fry the garlic, ginger and spring onion pieces with a pinch of salt for a minute to release the aromas, then add the pork belly and dark soy sauce and fry for another minute
Add the light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and water, along with another good pinch of salt (not too much though – the broth will reduce and therefore get saltier over time!) Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 60-90 minutes with a lid on, depending how soft you like your pork belly. Keep skimming off any impurities as the broth cooks – this will give you a clear, clean broth at the end
When the pork is cooked, taste the broth for seasoning and adjust as required – rice wine vinegar will help cut through the richness of the broth, but you may want to add more salt and pepper too
Cook the noodles in a separate pan, according to the packet instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop them sticking together, and toss them with the sesame oil
Take the spring onion tops you reserved for garnish and thinly slice them lengthways. Dunk them into ice water and they will crisp and curl up. Remove and drain on kitchen towel
Meanwhile, cook the Swiss chard and sugar snaps in the broth for 1 minute
Serve the broth, rice noodles, pork belly lardons and greens in a nice big bowl. Garnish with spring onion and thinly sliced red chilli
First published in 2019

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