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Delicious Pork Belly Chinese Style Recipe: How to Put a Twist on a Classic Dish

If you are someone who enjoys Chinese food, you're most likely familiar with pork belly. This particular cut of meat is a common ingredient in a wide range of Chinese dishes, and its popularity is well-deserved. Pork belly is a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in various ways, including braising, roasting, and stir-frying. This post will delve into the realm of Chinese pork belly recipes and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to prepare a delicious pork belly dish that is bound to impress your loved ones.

Sizzling pork belly in a wok with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Steam rising, caramelized edges, and garnished with green onions

Before we dive into the recipes, let's take a moment to understand pork belly. Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat that comes from the belly of the pig. It's a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine because of its rich flavour and tender texture. While it may not be the healthiest cut of meat, it's certainly one of the most delicious. When cooked properly, pork belly can be incredibly tender and juicy, with a crispy skin that adds a satisfying crunch to each bite.

Now that you know a bit more about pork belly, let's get down to business. We've scoured the internet to find the best Chinese pork belly recipes out there, and we've compiled them all in one place for your convenience. From classic braised pork belly to crispy pork belly with a honey glaze, we've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get cooking!

Key Takeaways

  • Pork belly is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in a variety of ways.
  • Chinese cuisine is known for its delicious pork belly dishes.
  • Seafood can be a great addition to pork belly recipes, such as adding prawns or squid for a unique flavour and texture.

Understanding Pork Belly

A sizzling pork belly cooks in a wok with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, creating a savory aroma. Green onions and chili peppers sit nearby for garnish

If you're looking for a tender and juicy cut of meat, pork belly is a great choice. This fatty cut of pork is often used in Chinese cuisine, where it is cooked in a variety of ways to create delicious and flavourful dishes.

Selecting Quality Pork Belly

When selecting pork belly, look for a cut that is evenly marbled with fat. The skin should be intact and free of blemishes. If possible, choose a cut of pork that has been raised without antibiotics or hormones.

Preparation and Cleaning

Before cooking, it's important to clean and prepare the pork belly properly. Start by rinsing the meat under cold water and patting it dry with paper towels. Then, use a sharp knife to score the skin in a crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut through to the meat.

To remove any impurities, you can blanch the pork belly in boiling water for a few minutes before cooking. This will also help to tighten the skin and make it easier to achieve that crispy texture.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try adding seafood to your pork belly dish. For example, you could try adding prawns or squid to a stir-fry or using fish sauce to flavour a marinade. Just be sure to choose seafood that is fresh and of high quality.

Chinese Pork Belly Recipes

A sizzling pork belly sizzles in a wok, surrounded by aromatics like garlic, ginger, and green onions. The meat is caramelized and glazed with a savory Chinese-style sauce

If you are a fan of Chinese cuisine, you must have come across pork belly dishes. The Chinese have found a way to make this ingredient shine in many of their delicacies. Here are some of the most popular Chinese pork belly recipes you should try.

Cantonese Roast Pork Belly

Cantonese roast pork belly is a classic dish that is a must-try for anyone who loves Chinese cuisine. The dish is made by marinating the pork belly in a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, and other spices before roasting it in the oven. The result is a succulent and juicy pork belly with a crispy skin that is perfect for any occasion.

Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly

Shanghai-style braised pork belly is a unique dish that combines all the flavours of the East with a unique braising technique. The pork belly is cooked in a mix of soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sugar until it develops a crispy, flavorful skin. It is then served with steamed buns or rice for a hearty meal.

Mei Cai Kou Rou

Mei Cai Kou Rou is a traditional Chinese dish that is often served during Chinese New Year celebrations. The dish is made by braising pork belly with preserved mustard greens until it becomes tender and flavourful. The dish is often served with rice or steamed buns.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly

Twice cooked pork belly is a Sichuan dish that is made by boiling the pork belly before stir-frying it with vegetables and spices. The dish is often served with steamed rice and is a great option for anyone looking for a spicy and flavourful meal.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can try adding seafood to your pork belly dishes. For example, you can add prawns or squid to your Cantonese roast pork belly for a seafood twist. Alternatively, you can add clams or mussels to your Shanghai-style braised pork belly for a unique flavour combination. However, make sure to use fresh seafood and cook it properly to avoid any foodborne illnesses.

Marinades and Seasonings

Pork belly being marinated in Chinese seasonings, surrounded by ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices

When it comes to making Chinese-style pork belly, marinades and seasonings are essential to achieve the perfect flavour. Here are two classic marinades and seasonings that you can use to make your pork belly recipe.

Classic Soy Sauce Mixture

A classic soy sauce mixture is a popular marinade for Chinese-style pork belly. To make this marinade, you will need soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and Chinese five spice. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and marinate the pork belly for at least 4 hours or overnight. This marinade is perfect for those who prefer a savoury flavour.

Sweet and Savoury Spice Blend

If you prefer a sweet and savoury flavour, you can use a spice blend that combines sugar, brown sugar, rock sugar, Chinese five spice, star anise, and sesame oil. This spice blend is perfect for those who want a balance of sweet and savoury flavours in their pork belly. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and marinate the pork belly for at least 4 hours or overnight.

If you want to add seafood to your pork belly recipe, you can use prawns or scallops. Simply sauté the seafood in a pan with some garlic and ginger, and add it to the pork belly before serving. This will add a delicious seafood flavour to your pork belly recipe.

Cooking Techniques

Pork belly sizzling in a hot wok with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Steam rising, meat caramelizing, and vegetables being added

When it comes to cooking Chinese-style pork belly, there are several techniques you can use to achieve the perfect texture and flavour. Here are some of the most popular methods:

Achieving Crispiness

Crispiness is a hallmark of Chinese-style pork belly, and achieving it requires a bit of finesse. One popular technique is to prick the skin of the pork belly all over before cooking it. This helps the skin to crisp up and bubble, creating a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. Another technique is to broil the pork belly for a few minutes at the end of the cooking process to give the skin an extra crispiness.

Braising for Tenderness

Braising is a great technique for achieving tender, juicy pork belly. To braise pork belly, you'll need to cook it low and slow in a flavorful liquid, such as soy sauce, rice wine, and ginger. This method can take several hours, but the result is well worth the wait. If you want to add some seafood to the mix, try adding some prawns or scallops to the braising liquid for a delicious flavour boost.

Slow Cooking Methods

Slow cooking is another great way to achieve tender, juicy pork belly. This method involves cooking the pork belly at a low temperature for several hours until it is fall-apart tender. You can use a slow cooker or an oven to slow cook your pork belly. If you want to add some seafood to the mix, try adding some mussels or clams to the slow cooker for a delicious seafood and pork belly stew.

By using these cooking techniques, you can create delicious Chinese-style pork belly that is crispy, tender, and full of flavour. Whether you choose to broil, braise, or slow cook your pork belly, you're sure to end up with a dish that is sure to impress your guests.

Serving and Pairing

A sizzling pork belly dish is being placed on a wooden serving platter next to a bowl of steamed rice and a side of pickled vegetables

Once you have cooked your Chinese-style pork belly, it's time to think about how to serve and pair it. Here are some suggestions to make your meal complete.

Accompaniments and Side Dishes

The rich and savoury flavour of Chinese-style pork belly pairs well with a variety of side dishes. One classic option is steamed white rice, which helps to balance out the richness of the pork belly. You can also try serving it with wok-fried noodles, egg fried rice, or salt and pepper chips.

Vegetables are another great option to serve alongside your pork belly. Bok choy, for example, is a popular choice in many Chinese restaurants. Its mild flavour and tender texture make it a great complement to the rich and savoury pork belly. You can also try serving it with other vegetables such as spring onions, bean sprouts, or long beans.

If you're looking for a more substantial accompaniment, you can also consider serving your pork belly with seafood. Steamed prawns or crab are a great option to add a fresh and light element to your meal.

Wine and Beverage Pairings

When it comes to pairing wine or other beverages with Chinese-style pork belly, it's important to consider the rich and savoury flavours of the dish. A full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz can be a great option to complement the richness of the pork belly.

If you prefer something lighter, a crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can also work well. Alternatively, you can try pairing your pork belly with a light and refreshing beer such as a lager or pilsner.

To round out your meal, consider serving a cup of hot tea or a glass of cold water. This will help to cleanse your palate between bites and keep you feeling refreshed throughout your meal.

Overall, Chinese-style pork belly is a versatile and delicious dish that can be paired with a variety of sides and beverages. Whether you prefer something light and refreshing or full-bodied and rich, there are plenty of options to choose from to make your meal complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling wok tosses marinated pork belly with aromatic Chinese spices, creating a mouthwatering aroma in a bustling kitchen

What's the secret to getting that perfect crispy skin on pork belly?

The Chinese have discovered that pricking lots of holes in the skin is the secret to perfect crispy pork belly. This yields that beautiful bubbly crackling that is unique to Chinese pork belly. To achieve this, use a sharp knife or fork to prick the skin all over before cooking.

How can I make a Chinese-style braised pork belly with five spice at home?

A simple recipe for Chinese-style braised pork belly with five spice can be made by using pork belly, oil, rock sugar or granulated sugar, wine, soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Cut the pork belly into 3/4 inch thick pieces, then braise it in a mixture of the other ingredients for several hours until it is tender and flavorful.

Can you suggest a simple method for preparing pork belly in the oven?

To prepare pork belly in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F. Rub the pork belly with a mixture of salt, pepper, and Chinese five spice powder, then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the skin is crispy and the meat is cooked through.

What are some quick and easy Chinese pork belly dishes I can whip up?

If you're short on time, try making a quick stir-fry with sliced pork belly, vegetables, and a simple sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar. Another easy option is to grill or pan-fry slices of pork belly and serve them with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.

How long should I slow cook pork belly to get that tender Chinese-style texture?

To get that tender Chinese-style texture, slow cook pork belly for several hours until it is soft and juicy. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your pork belly and the cooking method you use, but a good rule of thumb is to cook it for at least 2-3 hours at a low temperature.

Is it really necessary to boil pork belly first, and what's the reason behind it?

Boiling pork belly first is a traditional Chinese cooking technique that helps to remove any impurities and excess fat from the meat, resulting in a cleaner, more tender finished product. While it is not strictly necessary, it can help to improve the texture and flavor of your pork belly dish. If you choose to boil your pork belly, be sure to do so for at least 10-15 minutes before proceeding with your recipe.

As a suggestion, you can also add seafood to your pork belly dish for a delicious twist. Try adding shrimp or scallops to your stir-fry or braised pork belly dish for a tasty seafood and pork combination.