Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Red pork belly

I decided to honor my half pig by making one of my favorite pork belly dishes, indeed, the only pork belly dish I know how to make: Chinese red braised pork belly.

I cut off two thick slices of fresh pork belly. The rest of the belly was destined for bacon.

I think I can say that this red braised pork dish has recently been popularized in America by Fuchsia Dunlop as evidenced by the fact that when you google "red braised pork" her recipe for Chairman Mao's Red-Braised Pork (or Mao Shi Hong Shao Rou) pops up all over the place.

I use her recipe for the most part, except she doesn't emphasize that you need to pour off the fat, because there is a ridiculous amount of grease that you need to pour off. And she also gives a cooking time that is way too short. You need 3 hours. Maybe 2 hours in a pinch.

This is one of our favorite things to eat, and we learned the hard way not to overeat it. It expands in your stomach more than other foods, with the possible exception of roast duck. Three walnut-sized pieces and some rice is good for a full meal.


Momneedsanap said...

Wow, that looks fantastic. I'll make it for my husband and kids.

I wonder how it would taste without the star anise. We both don't care for the black liquorice-like taste. It's a shame because we can't enjoy Cantonese roasted duck either since it also uses star anise.

David said...

It would probably still taste good without the star anise, but I think the star anise just gives it such a wonderful aroma. I don't like black licorice either, but for some reason I love the flavor and smell from fennel and star anise.

As a side note, I've been told by the Chinese post-docs in my lab that the addition of the cinnamon stick is weird. Maybe Dunlop got the recipe from some really obscure village in Hunan.

Anyway, if you don't like star anise, a similar dish might be Kakuni, a Japanese pork belly dish which I love and get at restaurants whenever I can. This recipe here seems like a decent one, although I've never made the dish myself so I wouldn't know how authentic it might be. A quick google search will give you a bunch of other recipes.

Momneedsanap said...

Thanks. The Japanese dish sounds great. I even have all the ingredients to make it in my pantry and fridge, except for the lump pork belly. I'll get some today at the Korean market.

It's strange though. I lived in Japan for a year and have never had this dish. This is a new one for me.