Hong Shao Rou, also known in English as Shanghai-style braised pork belly, is a popular Chinese dish. It is made by cooking pork belly in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, star anise, wine, and crystal sugar. This dish can be easily prepared using an Instant Pot or a stovetop. In this post, I will guide you through making this delicious meal.
Hong Shao Rou (Braised Pork Belly)
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I love pork belly even more when it’s cooked and coated with a sticky sauce. This dish, called Hong Shao Rou or Braised Pork Belly, is trendy in China and is often served in Dim Sum restaurants in the Philippines. The SauceSauce is sticky, sweet, smooth, and savory, making it a perfect topping for rice or a delicious filling for Bao buns.
Hong Shao Rou is renowned for its perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. Combining soy sauce, ginger, rock sugar, and aromatic spices creates a mouthwatering, comforting, and indulgent taste.
Origin of Hong Shao Rou:
The dish has a long history and is deeply rooted in Chinese culinary traditions. It is believed to have originated in the Jiangsu province, where red-cooking, a method of braising meat with soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings, is a popular cooking technique. The use of soy sauce gives the dish its distinctive red-brown color.
Over time, Hong Shao Rou has become a beloved and iconic dish in Chinese cuisine, with variations and adaptations found in different regions of China. It is often served during special occasions, family gatherings, and festive celebrations. The dish’s popularity has also extended beyond China, making it a well-known and appreciated part of Chinese culinary culture worldwide.
Why You’ll Love Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly:
- This meal is incredibly delicious, with a sweet, sticky, flavorful sauce and a delightful aroma.
- Melt-in-Your-Mouth Texture- the pork belly is cooked to perfect tenderness in the Instant Pot. Suppose you cook it on the stovetop—the slow braising process in the Instant Pot results in pork belly that is tender and succulent. The meat absorbs the rich flavors of the Sauce sauce, creating a luxurious, satisfying, and unforgettable texture.
- Versatility in Pairing: Whether served with steamed rice, noodles, or alongside steamed buns, Hong Shao Rou is perfect for any dish you want.
How To Make Hong Shao Rou
Ingredients for Hong Shao Rou (Red Braised Pork Belly)
- Cut the pork belly into cubes one and a half inches by one and a half inches if you cook it in the Instant Pot.
- Soy sauce and Oyster Sauce
- Shaoxing wine (or substitute with dry sherry)
- Rock sugar or granulated sugar
- Star anise
- One tablespoon of vegetable oil
Instructions for Instant Pot Hong Shao Rou
Prepare Ingredients: –Cut the pork belly into thicker cuts if you cook it in the Instant Pot. Slice the ginger, and cut the green onions.
Sear Pork Belly: Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” mode and oil. Sear the pork belly pieces until they become browned on all sides.
Add the rock sugar and let it melt. Add Aromatics: Minced garlic, sliced ginger, green onions, and star anise. Saute for a minute until fragrant.
Add the wine, water, soy, and oyster sauce. Pour in the Shaoxing wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping off any browned bits.
Pressure Cook –the sealing position Cook on high pressure for about 25-30 minutes.
Saute– after the meat has been pressure cooked, cancel the pressure cooker button setting and set the setting to saute’ mode. This increases the sauce’s thickness. Add more wine or sauce if needed, but this recipe was perfect.
Serve. Open the Instant Pot, and if the Sauce Sauce needs thickening, you can set it to “Saute” mode and reduce it to your desired consistency. Serve the Hong Shao Rou over rice or with your favorite side dishes.
How to Store Hong Shao Rou:
- Refrigeration: H3 Store any leftover Hong Shao Rou in the fridge for three days.
- Freezing: H3 Hong Shao Rou freezes well. Place cooled portions in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for six months.
- Reheating: To reheat, gently warm the dish on the stovetop or microwave. Add a splash of water if the sauce has thickened during storage.
Expert Tips for Perfecting Hong Shao Rou:
Here are some tips I learned while cooking these delicious dishes. You can learn some on your own as you go along.
- Choose the Right Cut of Pork: Opt for a pork belly with a good balance of meat and fat. This marbling is essential for achieving Hong Shao Rou’s signature melt-in-your-mouth texture. Ask your butcher for a fresh and well-trimmed cut. Also, you can use pork shoulder if pork belly is not available.
- Searing- Take the time to sear the pork belly thoroughly before pressure cooking. This step enhances the flavor by creating a caramelized crust on the meat, adding depth to the dish. Ensure all sides are golden brown for maximum flavor infusion.
- Sauces and Shaoxing Wine-Adding Rice cooking wine and oyster sauce enhance the flavor of this dish. Delicious! The quality of the sauce depends on the quality of these ingredients.
- Rock sugar – You can easily find it at an Asian store or order it from Amazon. It is not expensive, and a small amount can last long. The amount of sugar you use can be adjusted to achieve your desired level of sweetness or saltiness. Before pressure cooking, taste the Sauce sauce and make adjustments accordingly.
- Star anise can add an aromatic touch to your dish. If you do not like strong spices, start with a smaller amount and gradually increase it in subsequent batches.
- Sauteeing- The sauce is thinner when using the instant pot due to the liquid collection. Sauteeing for this gradual release helps maintain the integrity of the pork’s texture and ensures a more succulent result.
- Adjusting Sauce Consistency: If your sauce is too thin after pressure cooking, use the “Saute” mode to reduce and thicken it. Conversely, if it’s too thick, add a splash of water or broth until you achieve the desired consistency.
SOME COMMON QUESTIONS
What is the difference between Dong Po Rou and Hong Shao Rou, Chinese braised pork dishes?
Dong Po Rou: Named after the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo.Typically made by braising pork belly in soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. The dish is characterized by its rich, savory, and sweet flavors. Dong Po Rou is often cut into thick squares or cubes and has a luscious and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Hong Shao Rou-Hong Shao Rou translates to “red-cooked pork.”The dish involves braising pork belly in soy sauce, sugar, and spices. It gets its name from the reddish-brown color the pork takes on during the cooking process. Hong Shao Rou has a sweet and savory taste with a hint of spiciness.
What is Shao Rou in English?
Shao Rou translates to “burnt meat” or “roasted meat” in English.
Spiciness of Hong Shao Rou?
Hong Shao Rou is not traditionally considered spicy. It is more known for its sweet and savory flavors. However, the level of spiciness can vary based on the specific recipe used.
Shanghai-style braised Pork Belly
- 1 Instant Pot Duo Crisp 8 quart
- chopping board
- 1 lb Pork Belly Slabs cut in cubed 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches.
- 3 pieces Rock Sugar
- 1/4 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 4 pieces Star Anise
- 1 tbsp Sliced Ginger
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine or rice-cooking Wine
- Ensure that you cut the pork belly into cubes on 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches thickness. This will ensure that the pork belly is not too tender when you cook it in the Instant Pot.
- Set the Inner pot to the Instant Pot base and push the saute' button setting. Set the timer to thirty minutes. You can add oil if you want, but I did not. Wait for three minutes and brown the pork belly on all sides. Add the rock sugar and let it melt. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, Shaoxing wine and water.
- Cancel the saute' button and push the pressure cooker button setting. Cover with the pressure cooker lid. Set the pressure to HI. and set the timer to thirty-five minutes. Quickly release when done.
- Cancel the pressure cooker button setting and push the saute' button setting. Set the timer to thirty minutes. YOu can see that the liquid is thin, so let it simmer until the liquid is reduced. Add more sauce, cooking wine, or chili if you want. Cancel the saute button and remove the meat from the Instant Pot.
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