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Chinese Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)

Chinese Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)

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Chinese Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou) was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Back when I was basically known as a carnivore in my family. I think I find this understandable. I loved ALL the meats. Red braised pork belly is so tasty and goes so well with any veggie and rice!

By the way if you are unfamiliar with this dish, red braised pork belly is a Chinese dish that is braised. It’s called ‘red braised’ because the ingredients used in cooking the pork makes it ‘reddish’ in color.

This recipe here is how my mom makes it and what I grew up eating!

Why is it called Red Braised Pork Belly?

This dish is called Red Braised Pork Belly because in Chinese it is called Hong Shao Rou 紅燒肉. Hong Shao 紅燒 = Red Cooked. Rou 肉 = Pork!

The mix of chili bean paste , soy sauce, star anise, and other ingredients in the braising broth causes the pork and the sauce/broth/soup to turn in to a reddish color.

By the way – if you like red braised pork belly, you will most likely also enjoy my red braised fish, red braised chicken, and red braised beef!

Where Does Pork Belly Come From?

Pork Belly, like bacon, is a boneless cut from the underside or the belly of the pig, after the loin and the spareribs have been removed. It is not the stomach but actually the flesh part.

What is the difference between Pork Belly and Bacon? Pork belly is basically the uncured, unsmoked and uncut bacon. Or I should say you make bacon from pork belly. Once you pork belly is cured, smoked and sliced, it is officially called bacon.

Red Braised Pork Belly Customizations

You can customize this Red Braised Pork Belly dish! For example, every time we have fresh bamboo shoots, we make this Red Braised Pork Belly with Bamboo shoots recipe:

Red Braised Pork Belly with Bamboo shoots

Some other ideas:

What to serve with Chinese pork belly?

Since Chinese Pork Belly is so flavorful, it goes super well with white rice. I always make sure to add a lot of delicious sauce all over my rice.

Also, I usually eat this dish with a veggie side – here are some recommendations:

Stir Fry Asparagus with Garlic

Shanghai Bok Choy Stir Fry with Garlic

Broccoli Stir Fry with Garlic

About the Ingredients

I want to provide some additional information to the ingredients used for your reference – if you already know about them, feel free to skip!

Rock Sugar

Rock sugar is normally used for this recipe. It’s not super common to find this one in your nearest non-asian grocery store so if you can’t find it you can use normal sugar (preferably brown sugar), however, rock sugar is traditionally used.

Soy Sauce

Also, I use two types of soy sauces here. There’s regular soy sauce and then there’s a dark soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is thicker, darker, and slightly less salty then regular soy sauce. It’s flavor is stronger and it also adds a darker color to food you are cooking. If you can’t find any – use regular soy sauce.

Rice Wine / Michiu

There’s also a type of alcohol used in this dish, called michiu. Michiu aka Rice Wine is commonly used as a cooking wine and contains about 19.5% alcohol. It’s commonly used in Taiwanese cooking so it’s always in my pantry.

Chili Bean Paste / Doubanjiang

The chili sauce/paste I often use is called Chili Bean Sauce aka Doubanjiang.

Chilli Bean Paste aka Doubanjiang 豆瓣酱, is a chunky sauce you can buy at the store that is spicy and savory. It’s traditionally made from fermented broad beans, chili peppers, soybeans, salt and flour. There are also different ones you can find, for example some will add spicy chili oil in it already.

Chili Bean Paste is often used in Sichuan food (ex: mapo tofu), which might explain why I love it because I love Sichuan food (and my grandma was from there!). I use it in my Szechuan ChickenTwice Cooked Pork and Jalapeno Chicken.

You can buy it at your local Asian super market or even on Amazon such as this one: Lee Kum Kee LKK Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan).

How to make Chinese pork belly?

Here’s the good stuff – I will show you how we make Chinese Red Braised Pork Belly at my house!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork belly, cut in to 1-1.5 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp sugar (rock sugar is recommended but not necessary)
  • 3 tbsp michiu (aka rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp chili bean paste
  • Dried red chili pepper (optional)

Instructions

In a large skillet or wok, add cooking oil, sugar, and dried red chili pepper (optional).

Let the sugar melt, and then add pork belly.

Brown the pork, making sure both sides are lightly browned.

Add garlic and chili bean sauce, and stir together.

Now, transfer to a clay pot or medium sized pot. On low heat, add michiu, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and water.

Cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and serve!

Instant Pot Version

If you have an instant pot and would like to use it for this recipe, you’re in luck! Here’s how to make Chinese Pork Belly Recipe – Red Braised Pork Belly in the instant pot version!

Instant Pot Instructions

Turn on the sauté setting on your instant pot and add cooking oil, sugar, and pork belly. Brown the pork and make sure both sides are lightly browned.

Add garlic, chili bean sauce, michiu, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, water.

Close the lid (make sure your vent is set to not venting) and cook pork for 20 minutes on high pressure setting.

Naturally release after the time is up, and once it’s safe, open up the lid.

It’s actually done and ready to serve, but if you’d like the sauce to be thicker, you can remove the lid, and set sauté to low, and allow it to gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Chinese Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)

Chinese Red Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork belly, cut in to 1-1.5 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp sugar (rock sugar is recommended but not necessary)
  • 3 tbsp michiu (aka rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp chili bean paste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or wok, add cooking oil, sugar, and dried red chili pepper (optional). Let the sugar melt, and then add pork belly.
  2. Brown the pork, making sure both sides are lightly browned.
  3. Add garlic and chili bean sauce, and stir together.
  4. Now, transfer to a clay pot or medium sized pot. On low heat, add michiu, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and water.
  5. Cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and serve!

Notes

Instant Pot Instructions

Turn on the sauté setting on your instant pot and add cooking oil, sugar, and pork belly. Brown the pork and make sure both sides are lightly browned.

Add garlic, chili bean sauce, michiu, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, water.

Close the lid (make sure your vent is set to not venting) and cook pork for 20 minutes on high pressure setting.

Naturally release after the time is up, and once it's safe, open up the lid.

It's actually done and ready to serve, but if you'd like the sauce to be thicker, you can remove the lid, and set sauté to low, and allow it to gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 590mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 27g

The nutrition information for this recipe is an approximate total per serving. Please double check the nutrition information for your exact ingredients and brands for more precise nutrition information.

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Pin for later!

If you love the Chinese braised meat of this Pork Belly Chinese Recipe – Red Braised Pork Belly, you’re going to also love Taiwanese Braised Beef dish! Here’s the recipe!

If you’re looking for more delicious Chinese pork recipes – check out my 10+ Delicious Chinese Pork Recipes!

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Nancy M

Wednesday 9th of November 2022

Thanks for the Instant Pot instructions for this recipe! I love red-braised pork belly and will definitely make this!

I would like to mention that, in the “Why is called Red-Braised Pork Belly?” section, the character 肉 means “meat”, not “beef”, and there is one other mention of cooking the beef instead of pork in the same paragraph. :)

TinaTsai

Wednesday 9th of November 2022

Yes! Thanks, that is correct - nice catch! I copied and pasted it from my red braised beef recipe and forgot to update that part - what I get for being lazy!! I'll go update it now :)

Art

Monday 7th of November 2022

For the instant pot version, do you still need the clay pot or can you just leave it in the IP? Thanks!

TinaTsai

Monday 7th of November 2022

Wow I never noticed how messed up that instant pot section is! I just updated/fixed it. You don't need any other pots than the instant pot.

Duncan Edwards

Monday 16th of August 2021

Looking at this presentation reflects an amazing specialty we all love this😛

TinaTsai

Monday 16th of August 2021

Thanks so much!!

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