Family Classics: Tales of Red Braised Pork

... also known as a Hong Shao Rou. Which is in a nutshell a Chinese grandmothers dish. You know, the ultimate comfort food you always crave. And yes, there is a myriad of variations, as every family have their own version.

Volá! Red Braised Pork served with pok choi and spring onion.

Volá! Red Braised Pork served with pok choi and spring onion.

And now you might expect, that I reveal my Chinese heritage, but nope. Neither of us have a Chinese grandmother, though I wouldn't mind having one bonus one, from whom I can learn some Chinese cooking tips and tricks. Though, does anybody have an extra Chinese granny spare, who can cook???

Anyway, our journey to "Red Braised Pork" recipe started with chef Gordon Ramsay and his World Kitchen cookbook. So, thank you chef Ramsay for introducing this recipe for us. And over the years we have tried different versions, as we have literally ordered it every time we have seen it on the menu (though, it is relatively rare find), and experimented and learned from mistakes trying to shorten the process (apparently Sous Vide is no go and boiling the meat in the beginning is very important step not to skip). 

So are you ready for Our Family Classics: Tales of Red Braised Pork?

 

Family Classics: Red Braised Pork (Hong Shao Rou) 

Ingredients

  • 800 g of pork (*go for a piece that has also some fat, the best piece is pork belly, but that might require a special trip to the butchers, which is worth it. But nakkefilet, which is more available in the supermarkets will also work). 
  • 3 tbsp of oil
  • 3 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 3 tbsp of Dark soya sauce
  • 3 Tbsp of Light soya sauce (* yes, there is difference in soya sauces, but if you only have one type at home then use that 6 Tbsp in total) 
  • 3- 4 star anis
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 3 cm of finely diced ginger
  • 1-3 red chilli (hot) (* you can add up to 3 chilies. Note: we usually leave the seeds in. The amount of chilli has varied in our recipe, as it really depends on the chilli, how hot it is, and how spicy food you want. In our experience supermarket chillies can vary from red peppers, with no heat to all too much heat, while Asian supermarket chilli heat levels are more stable and they almost always pack the punch. So my friendly advice is to always taste your chillies before putting them in and adjust the chilli amount accordingly). 
  • 1- 2 Garlic cloves (optional)
  • 1 dl Rice wine (optional) 

Instructions 

  1. Slice the meat and boil it quickly before cutting it into cubes in a big heavy bottom pan. (* It might be tempting to skip pre-boiling meat step in the beginning and recipe will still work, but for best result I advice you not to skip this step as it also removes impurities in the meat). 
  2. Meanwhile meat pre-boils, finely cut ginger (+ garlic if you use it) and thinly slice chilli.
  3. When your meat is ready (you have foam on top of water), take it out from the water and place it in the sieve so the water can come out (caramel and water don't mix). 
  4. Clean your pan from foam residue and add some oil (3 tbsp) to be heated up. 
  5. Cut the meat into cubes and set aside till you make caramel. 
  6. When oil is warm add 3 tbsp of sugar and let it melt til it is light brown caramel. 
  7. Be careful and place your meat into the caramel on the pan and mix till pieces are coated. 
  8. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, ginger, (garlic), soya sauces and (rice wine). 
  9. Cover with water and let it simmer about 1 hour. 
  10. Start your rice about 20 minutes before serving and cut the vegetables.
  11. 20 min. before serving remove the lid if you were using one and see how saucy you would like to have your dish. 
  12. Serve with rice and some greenery (We like a pak choi and spring onion mix). (Also I have seen it served with some boiled egg). 

Chi Chi Chi and Bon appetit !

So What is your family classic dish?