Sweet and Spicy Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)
This recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pork Belly or (Hong Shao Rou) makes the most of Blue Dragon ingredients you may already have in your kitchen! Read on to find out more.
Chinese food at home
Chinese New Year has been and gone for another year. We had a fantastic time dancing with the lions and dragons around China Town, nibbling on a BBQ Pork Bun or two as we enjoyed the festivities. Once we got home I decided to make a delicious Chinese feast to celebrate. But, I wasn’t always this confident at cooking Chinese Cuisine.
Years and years ago, I enrolled on a cookery class that changed the way I cooked. I attended an introductory to Chinese cooking class complete with guided tour of China Town before taking a short course in dim sum. I learnt just how easy it was to make tasty, authentic oriental food at home. Ever since I’ve been whipping up everything from noodles and stir fries to dim sum!
Before I took the cookery course the thing that daunted me most was knowing what ingredients I should be using. I had it in my head that I’d need weird and wonderful sounding bottles and jars from the local Oriental Supermarket. It turns out I was wrong! If you’ve got a bottle of soy sauce in your cupboard then that’s a good start! Spring onions, fresh ginger and garlic in your fridge, then great! Sweet chilli dipping sauce? Well then that will come in handy too.
With this recipe I want to show you just how easy it is to make delicious Chinese food with ingredients you can easily buy in your local Sainsburys, Asda or Tescos!
Let’s start at the very beginning. The main ingredients for this recipe are:
- pork belly,
- spring onion,
- soy sauce,
- sweet chilli dipping sauce and
- Chinese five spice.
Hopefully there is nothing there that is too unfamiliar.
Pork belly might immediately make you think of an English roast dinner but pork is in fact the most used meat in Chinese cooking. It’s believed that pigs were among the first animals domesticated for food in ancient China and because of their high fat content, pork became a staple of the lower classes providing much needed calories.
The Holy Trinity
Next on the list (spring onion, garlic and ginger) are what’s known as the holy trinity of Chinese cooking. These three simple ingredients are the basis for so many authentic Chinese dishes that they were a must in flavouring the rich pork before adding to the sticky, sweet, spicy sauce.
Sweet and sticky sauce
Soy Sauce and Sweet Chilli dipping sauce form the basis of the sweet and spicy sauce that coats the pork belly once cooked. For full details of how to make the sauce, check out the full recipe below.
Now I’ll admit, Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce isn’t the most authentic of ingredients for a Hong Shao Rou recipe. But, it is something that many of us have lurking at the back of our kitchen cupboards or can buy in a supermarket. This sweet and spicy bottle of sauce can be used for so much more than just a dip for prawn crackers! In this recipe it replaces a syrup usually made with brown sugar and water. The chilli gives it an extra hit of spice and more spice means more layers of flavour. It’s a win-win.
The combination of rich, fatty meat with a sweet and spicy sauce makes for some serious comfort food. I love to serve this dish over steamed white rice but it work really well tossed through egg noodles too. Stir fried fresh veggies will help to cut through the richness of the dish but aren’t essential. A sprinkling of Chinese Chives and fresh chilli however are a must! They really finish the dish off perfectly. If you can’t find Chinese Chives then spring onions will do.
Now you know what you need to make this Sweet and Spicy Pork Belly it’s about time I showed you how to make this rich, sticky dish.
Sweet and Spicy Belly Pork (Hong Shao Rou)
- 500 g pork belly cubed
- 1 l water
- 6 spring onions sliced lengthways
- 1 inch root ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 red chilli sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 250 ml water
- 125 ml sweet chilli sauce
- 125 ml light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice
- Chinese chives to garnish
- Begin by pouring the litre of water into a wok and bringing to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and add the pork, spring onions, ginger, garlic and half of the red chilli.
- Let the aromatics and the pork simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pork from the wok and place on to kitchen roll and pat dry.
- Discard the water and aromatics in the wok.
- Next, heat the sesame oil in the wok before adding the pork.
- Cook the pork for roughly 15 minutes until golden brown all over.
- Again, remove the pork from the heat and place on to clean kitchen roll. Pat dry.
- Add the 250ml water, sweet chilli dipping sauce, soy sauce and dried spices to the wok.
- Stir well to ensure there are no lumps of spice.
- Heat the sauce gently for 5 minutes until it begins to thicken.
- (If a scum from the pork which was cooked earlier emerges on the sauce at this stage strain through a sieve.)
- Add the pork back to the wok and cover with a lid.
- Let the pork cook in the sauce for 20 minutes.
- Once the 20 minutes is up, remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has completely reduced.
- (During this time you can prepare your rice or noodles.)
- Serve with a sprinkling of Chinese Chives and the remaining red chilli.
This post is an entry to the Foodies100 Chinese New Year recipe challenge sponsored by Blue Dragon. The range of Blue Dragon products is available in all major supermarkets at an RRP from £0.69. To find out more, visit www.bluedragon.co.uk
More Chinese New Year Recipe Inspiration
Chinese Recipe Archive
There’s more where this came from, check out my Chinese recipe archive.
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