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Chinese Braised Pork Shoulder Recipe: An Exciting Addition to Your Meal Plan

Chinese braised pork shoulder recipe is a favourite in many Chinese restaurants and is perfect for those who want to indulge in some hearty comfort food. It's a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of sides, such as rice, noodles, or vegetables. Plus, it's easy to store and reheat, making it a great option for meal prep. So why not give it a try and enjoy a taste of Chinese comfort food at home?

A large pot simmering with dark, fragrant braised pork shoulder surrounded by aromatic spices and herbs

To make this recipe, you'll need some basic ingredients such as pork shoulder, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and sugar. You can also add your own personal touch by using different spices and herbs. The preparation is simple and straightforward, and the end result is a flavourful and tender pork dish that is sure to impress.

Key Takeaways

  • The Chinese braised pork shoulder recipe is a classic dish that is easy to make and perfect for indulging in some hearty comfort food.
  • The recipe requires basic ingredients such as pork shoulder, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and sugar, and can be personalised with different spices and herbs.
  • The dish is versatile and can be paired with a variety of sides, and is easy to store and reheat, making it a great option for meal prep.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A cutting board with pork shoulder, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices. Nearby, a bowl of sugar, sherry, and chicken broth

Primary Ingredients

The primary ingredient for this Chinese braised pork shoulder recipe is, of course, pork shoulder. The cut of pork is perfect for braising, as it has a good balance of fat and meat, which will result in tender and juicy meat after cooking.

Seasonings and Spices

The seasoning and spices used in this recipe are crucial to achieving the right balance of flavours. Soy sauce is the main seasoning used in this dish, and it is recommended to use a combination of both dark and light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce provides a rich, deep colour and flavour, while light soy sauce adds saltiness and balances the sweetness of the dish.

Other important spices include star anise, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, and cassia bark. These spices provide a warm and aromatic flavour to the dish. Additionally, rock sugar or brown sugar is used to add sweetness to the dish.

Substitution Suggestions

If you are unable to find some of the ingredients for this recipe, there are some substitutions you can make. For example, if you cannot find Shaoxing wine, you can use dry sherry instead. If you need to make this dish gluten-free, you can use tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.

For a seafood twist on this recipe, you can add shrimp or scallops to the braised pork shoulder. The seafood will complement the rich flavours of the pork and add a unique twist to the dish.

Preparation Before Cooking

A cutting board with sliced ginger, garlic, and scallions, alongside a bowl of soy sauce, sugar, and cooking wine

Before you start cooking your Chinese braised pork shoulder, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that your meat is clean, well-marinated, and full of flavour. In this section, we'll go over the three main preparation steps: cleaning the pork, marinating the meat, and preparing aromatics.

Cleaning the Pork

First things first, it's important to clean your pork shoulder before cooking. This will help to remove any impurities and ensure that your meat is safe to eat. To clean your pork, follow these simple steps:

  1. Rinse the pork shoulder under cold running water.
  2. Rub the meat with a handful of salt and leave for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse the salt off the pork and pat it dry with a paper towel.

Marinating the Meat

Marinating your meat is an essential step in making Chinese braised pork shoulder. This will help to infuse the meat with flavour and make it tender. Here's how to marinate your pork shoulder:

  1. Combine your seasoning ingredients in a bowl. This can include soy sauce, brown sugar, and Chinese five-spice powder.
  2. Rub the seasoning mix all over the pork shoulder, making sure to coat it well.
  3. Cover the pork with cling film and leave it to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible.

Preparing Aromatics

Aromatics such as ginger and garlic are essential ingredients in Chinese braised pork shoulder. They add depth of flavour and a delicious aroma to your dish. Here's how to prepare your aromatics:

  1. Peel and slice a few cloves of garlic and a thumb-sized piece of ginger.
  2. Heat a pan with a little oil and fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant.

As a suggestion, you can add seafood to your braised pork shoulder recipe. Adding prawns or scallops can give your dish a unique flavour and texture. However, be sure to cook the seafood separately and add it to the dish towards the end of the cooking process to avoid overcooking it.

Cooking Method

Pork shoulder simmers in soy sauce, ginger, and spices in a large pot. The liquid reduces, creating a rich, caramelized glaze on the meat

Braising the Pork

To begin, heat up your Dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated, add in the pork shoulder and sear it for a few minutes on each side until it is browned. This will help to lock in the juices and flavour of the pork.

Next, add in the aromatics such as ginger, anise, and garlic. These will help to infuse the pork with flavour as it cooks. You can also add in seafood such as prawns or scallops at this stage to add a unique twist to the recipe.

Pour in the soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings such as Chinese five spices and black pepper powder. Mix everything together well and let it come to a simmer.

Simmering and Seasoning

Once the pork has been braised, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for a few hours. This will help to tenderize the meat and allow the flavours to develop.

After a few hours, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as necessary. You can add more soy sauce or sugar if needed to balance out the flavours.

Final Touches

Once the pork is fully cooked, remove it from the Dutch oven and let it rest for a few minutes. While it is resting, you can reduce the sauce to create a delicious gravy to serve with the pork.

To do this, turn up the heat and let the sauce simmer until it has thickened and reduced in volume. You can also add in a cornstarch slurry to help thicken the sauce even more.

Once the gravy is ready, serve the pork with the sauce on top. You can garnish it with some chopped green onions or cilantro for an added touch of freshness.

This Chinese braised pork shoulder recipe is a delicious and flavourful dish that is perfect for any occasion. By following these simple steps, you can create a dish that is sure to impress your guests.

Serving and Pairing

A steaming pot of Chinese braised pork shoulder, surrounded by bowls of aromatic spices and condiments, ready to be paired with fluffy white rice

Accompaniments

Chinese braised pork shoulder is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of accompaniments. The most popular accompaniment is white rice, which helps to soak up the delicious sauce. Noodles are also an excellent choice, as they add texture and provide a different flavour profile. You can also serve the pork with some steamed vegetables or a side salad to add some freshness to the dish.

Another popular accompaniment is hard-boiled eggs. These can be boiled in the same pot as the pork for added flavour and texture. You can also sprinkle some chopped spring onion over the pork to add some colour and freshness.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

When it comes to wine pairings, Shaoxing wine is the perfect choice. This Chinese wine is often used in the braising liquid and complements the flavours of the pork perfectly. If you don't have Shaoxing wine, you can use a dry sherry as a substitute.

If you prefer beer, a light lager or pilsner would work well with this dish. The refreshing taste of the beer complements the rich flavours of the pork.

For non-alcoholic options, you can pair the pork with some Chinese tea, such as oolong or jasmine tea. These teas have a delicate flavour that won't overpower the dish.

If you want to add some seafood to the dish, you can use prawns or scallops. These can be added to the braising liquid towards the end of cooking and will absorb the flavours of the pork. Alternatively, you can serve the pork with some steamed fish to add some variety to the dish.

Storing and Reheating

A pot of Chinese braised pork shoulder sits on a stovetop. Steam rises as it simmers in a rich, savory sauce. Nearby, a microwave stands ready to reheat the leftovers

Refrigeration

After cooking and enjoying your Chinese Braised Pork Shoulder, it's important to store any leftovers properly. Place the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Reheating Leftovers

To reheat the leftovers, there are a few options. You can reheat them in a pot on the stove, in the microwave, or in the oven until piping hot. If you choose to reheat them in the microwave, make sure to cover the container with a lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap to prevent any splatters.

When reheating the braised pork shoulder, it's important to remember that the meat may become tough if it is overcooked. To prevent this, it's best to reheat the meat slowly and at a low temperature. You can also add a little bit of water or broth to the container to help keep the meat moist.

If you're looking to switch things up, you can also try adding some seafood to your leftover braised pork shoulder. Shrimp or scallops would be a great addition to this dish. Simply sauté the seafood in a pan until cooked through, and then add it to the reheated braised pork shoulder. The combination of the tender pork and the delicate seafood flavours is sure to be a hit.

Overall, storing and reheating your Chinese Braised Pork Shoulder is a simple process that will allow you to enjoy this delicious dish for days to come. Just make sure to follow the proper storage and reheating guidelines to ensure that the meat stays tender and flavourful.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming pot of braised pork shoulder with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, surrounded by Chinese spices and herbs

What's the secret to keeping pork shoulder tender during braising?

The secret to keeping pork shoulder tender during braising is to cook it low and slow. This means using a low heat and cooking the pork for a long period of time. Additionally, it's important to choose a cut of pork with a good amount of fat, as this will help keep the meat moist and tender.

Can I use a slow cooker for making Chinese-style braised pork shoulder?

Yes, you can use a slow cooker for making Chinese-style braised pork shoulder. Simply follow the recipe as usual, but transfer the pork and braising liquid to a slow cooker instead of a pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the pork is tender and falling apart.

Which cut of pork should I choose for the best braised pork?

For the best braised pork, choose a cut of pork with a good amount of fat, such as pork shoulder or pork belly. These cuts will become tender and juicy during the braising process.

How can I achieve the perfect tenderness in braised pork?

To achieve the perfect tenderness in braised pork, it's important to cook it low and slow. This means using a low heat and cooking the pork for a long period of time. Additionally, make sure to choose a cut of pork with a good amount of fat, as this will help keep the meat moist and tender.

Is there a simple recipe for Chinese braised pork shoulder that's foolproof?

Yes, there is a simple recipe for Chinese braised pork shoulder that's foolproof. One example is to simmer chunks of pork shoulder with a few aromatics and soy sauce until the pork is tender and flavorful. You can also add your favourite spices and herbs to enhance the flavour.

What are the essential spices for a traditional Chinese braised pork shoulder dish?

The essential spices for a traditional Chinese braised pork shoulder dish include star anise, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and dried chillies. These spices add depth and complexity to the dish, and can be adjusted to suit your taste.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add seafood to your braised pork shoulder recipe. For example, you can add shrimp or scallops to the dish during the last few minutes of cooking for a tasty twist.