Red-braised pork belly for Chinese New Year

This recipe featured in the April 2018 edition of Hampshire Life magazine with wine matches from Berry Bros & Rudd.

This is one of my favourite ways of cooking pork belly. The succulent meat really lends itself to gentle Chinese spicing and works well with the fresh peppery watercress that’s just coming into season.

Throughout South East Asia, the texture of food holds as much importance as the flavour, which makes it really interesting to pair with wine. Here the flesh and fat of the meat turn melting and silky from the slow simmer, while the pork skin retains a toothsome texture less often seen in European pork dishes.

Red-braised pork belly

Serves 4

  • 750 g pork belly, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 5 slices fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly squashed
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 50 ml shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • jasmine rice and watercress, to serve
  1. Blanch the pork in two batches in boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge into cold water. Drain well and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the pork and honey for 5 minutes or until the pork starts to caramelise at the edges. Add the ginger, garlic and star anise and fry for 1 minute, then pour in the rice wine and bubble until almost evaporated.
  3. Stir in the two soy sauces and 600 ml of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the pork is very tender.
  4. Fish out the ginger, garlic and spices, then turn up the heat and boil until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy sauce.
  5. Spoon the pork and sauce into a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onions. Serve with jasmine rice and watercress.

Local producers:

Pork belly – Greenfield Pork

Andover, 01264 359422

Honey – Sinah Common Honey

Hayling Island, 07708 922013

Watercress – Mapleleaf Watercress

Basingstoke, 01256 464221

find them at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets

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