Dong bo ro – dark soy-braised pork belly

This Chinese braised pork belly recipe is a sure-fire hit, with the meat slow-cooked until wobbly and meltingly tender. The simple braising sauce reduces down into a beautiful dark syrup, packed with flavour thanks to the soy sauce. The red fermented tofu is optional, but definitely worth seeking out, as the flavour adds a complexity and depth to the dish.

First published in 2020

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Braising sauce

Method

1
Use a fork to mash together the red tofu and its liquid to create a smooth paste (if using). Combine this with the remaining ingredients for the braising sauce, then set aside. Don't worry about the lumps of rock sugar – they will melt when heated
2
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then blanch the pork belly for 3–4 minutes. Drain and run the meat under cold water to cool
3
Heat the vegetable oil in a thick-based saucepan, claypot or casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Sear the pork belly skin-side down until well browned, then continue to cook on all sides until seared all over. Once all the pieces of pork are browned, turn them all so they are skin-side down once again and add the ginger, spring onion and star anise around the sides of the meat
4
Move the ingredients around the pan to stop them burning. Once the ginger begins to brown, add the braising sauce and bring to a vigorous boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release any stuck ingredients and baste the pork with the sauce as it boils for 3–4 minutes
5
Pour the chicken stock over the pork until completely covered (top up with additional hot water if required), then cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Leave to simmer for 45 minutes
6
Remove the lid and simmer for another 45 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken. If you have the time, braise the pork (covered) over a low heat for 2–3 hours for a very soft finish, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes for further caramelisation. The longer you braise the pork for, the softer the meat will be
7
Garnish with coriander and serve immediately
First published in 2020

School of Wok founder, author and TV chef Jeremy Pang comes from three generations of Chinese chefs. Being surrounded by food connoisseurs, Jeremy developed his passion for food and soon realised the importance and correlation between basic cooking skills and eating well.

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