Five Spice Braised Pork Belly

Tender and fragrant pork belly marinated with Chinese five spice powder and braised in sweet soy sauce. A delicious entree best served with freshly steamed rice, pickled vegetables and a tea egg.



This is one of my favorite dishes. This dish pays homage to Vietnamese Thit Kho and Chinese Hong Shao Rou with a combination of each of its key ingredients and techniques to create this tasty entree. You'll find a mix of multiple ingredients across different cultures and the beauty of this dish is that you can use and adjust it based on what you have on hand. This recipe has a hefty list of ingredients but most of which are flavor enhancers such as additional spices, shallots and green onions. Your key ingredients that you'll need is soy sauce, five spice powder, garlic, ginger, cooking wine and some form of sugar (rock sugar, palm sugar, brown sugar, granulated sugar).


Why Pork Belly?


Pork belly is a favorite as it has a nearly even ratio of lean meat to fat. When braised, the chewy skin becomes nice and tender with almost a jelly-like consistency and it's a delicious symphony of flavors and textures. The downsides? Pork belly is very fatty and indulgent so it's not recommended to be eaten frequently. Since pork belly does have a high fat content, you can alternatively use other cuts of pork if desired such as pork butt, shoulder or country-style ribs. These cuts of pork will braise beautifully and you'll have a tender and tasty pork dish on your dinner table.


Ingredients:


2 lbs pork belly, cut into 2 inch cubes

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 slice ginger

4 shallots, halved

2 stalks green onion, sliced

2 tsp five spice powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar (mix with 2 tbsp water)

1/4 cup light soy

2 tbsp mirin

1/4 cup sake or Shaoxing wine

2 tbsp dark soy

1 cup water

1 tsp peppercorns

2 star anise pods


Visual Instructions:



Combine the soy sauces, cooking wine of choice mirin, and one cup of water.


Prepare the pork belly by slicing into 2 inch cubes. Prepare the garlic, green onions, ginger and shallots and set aside. Measure out the spice mixture; five spice powder, black pepper, white pepper in one bowl and sugar in a separate bowl.



Using a tea bag or by using cheesecloth to create spice bag, add the peppercorns and star anise pods. Tie the bag tightly so the contents do not spill out during the braise.



Blanch the pork belly in a pot of boiling water for 10 mins. After, drain and rinse the pork belly with cold water to remove the impurities. Set aside while you preheat a dutch oven or a large pot to medium heat, then add the sugar along with 2 tbsp of water.



Continue to stir once the sugar has started to bubble and carmelize.



Add the pork belly once the sugar has started to caramelize and mix thoroughly so the pork is fully coated.



Add the spice mixture and minced garlic and stir continuously for an additional 3 - 5 mins.



Afterwards, add the remaining ingredients: soy sauce mixture, shallots, ginger, green onions and the spice bag. Once the braise comes to a boil, lower the temperature to have it simmer, cover with a lid and braise for 1 and 1/2 hours. Stir once in a while to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom.



After 1 and 1/2 hours, remove the lid and bring the heat back up to medium and allow it to braise for an additional 30 mins uncovered. You can also skim off the additional oil that floats to the top if desired. Stir every so often to prevent it from sticking.



Once the pork has finished braising, remove from heat and serve!


Directions:


  1. Combine the soy sauces, cooking wine, mirin and one cup of water.

  2. Prepare the pork belly by slicing into 2 inch cubes. Prepare the garlic, green onions, ginger and shallots and set aside.

  3. Measure out the spice mixture; five spice powder, black pepper, white pepper in one bowl and sugar in a separate bowl.

  4. Using a tea bag or by using cheesecloth and cooking twine to create a spice bag, add the peppercorns and star anise pods. Tie the bag tightly so the contents do not spill out during the braise.

  5. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add the pork belly to blanch for 10 mins.

  6. Drain and rinse the pork belly with cold water to wash off the impurities.

  7. Preheat a dutch oven or a large pot to medium heat, then add the sugar along with 2 tbsp of water.

  8. Continue to stir once the sugar has started to bubble and caramelize.

  9. Add the pork belly once the sugar has started to caramelize and mix thoroughly so the pork is fully coated.

  10. Add the spice mixture and minced garlic then stir continuously for an additional 3 - 5 mins.

  11. Afterwards, add the remaining ingredients: soy sauce mixture, shallots, ginger, green onions and the spice bag. Once the braise comes to a boil, lower the temperature to have it simmer, cover with a lid and braise for 1 and 1/2 hours. Stir once in a while to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

  12. After 1 and 1/2 hours, remove the lid and bring the heat back up to medium and allow it to braise for an additional 30 mins uncovered. You can also skim off the additional oil that floats to the top if desired. Stir every so often to prevent it from sticking.

  13. Once the pork has finished braising, remove from heat and serve!