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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EZ DONG PO ROU [BRAISED PORK BELLY] - 东坡肉

Dong Po Rou [东坡肉] or braised pork belly is a very popular dish said to be originated from Hangzhou, China created by Su Dong, a famous scholar, poet and writer etc during the Song Dynasty period. I would not write further on how this dish comes to be so popular here.  If you are interested to get the details, just google and there are ample articles available with the details.
This braised pork belly dish seems tedious and difficult to prepare but it is surprisingly simple because most of the ingredients are easily available in any home kitchen.  This easy, simple version does not require long hours of stewing.  Yet, you can still end up with a succulent, tender 'melt in the mouth' meat texture.  After the extra stewing time, the pork belly is flavorsome and easily separated into small pieces with chopsticks.  A normal braised pork belly recipe requires about 45 - 60 minutes of simmering to tenderise the meat but this recipe requires 90 minutes of it.  No worries, you need not have to watch over the stove while it is simmering.
It is worthwhile to prepare this dish for Chinese New Year.  My husband's siblings gave thumbs up for it.😋😋😋
Recipe recreated from KL Liew Youtube video with modifications
Ingredients To Blanch Meat
1 to 1.2kg pork belly [choose the thick part of the pork belly]
3-4 slices ginger
1-2 stalks spring onions
2 tbsp cooking wine
  1. Pour water into a big wok [to blanch the whole piece of pork belly].  Add in pork belly, ginger, spring onions and wine.
  2. Bring to boil over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.  Turn the meat occasionally to ensure  that the whole piece of meat is blanched [all sides turned white].
  3. Remove from heat, rinsed until running water.  Set aside to cool before cutting into 4 equal portions [Slice off the uneven edges if preferred].  Pat dry and set aside.
Ingredients For Braising
1/2 tbsp oil
60 gm rock sugar
80-100 gm ginger - sliced
2 stalks spring onion - cut into halve
2 bay leaves
2 pieces cinnamon stick
2-3 star anise
8-10 cloves
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
60 ml light soy sauce
3/4 tbsp dark soy sauce
100 ml cooking wine
  1. Using a heavy based pot or good ceramic pot, line the base with ginger and spring onions.
  2. Pour oil into a wok, brown the sides of the pork belly pieces [except the skin part].  Remove meat pieces and extra oil.
  3. Using the same wok, add in rock sugar.  Caramelise the rock sugar over medium low heat [be careful not to burn it].  Add in the meat slices and try to coat the pieces with the caramelised sugar. 
  4. Transfer the meat pieces to pot [1], skin side down.  Add in the remaining spices and seasoning.  Meanwhile, add some water to the wok with caramelised sugar.  Bring to boil until the sugar dissolves.  
  5. Pour over meat slices, covering about 80% of them [add more water if not enough].  Bring to boil for a minute, then reduce to low heat.  Cover with lid and leave to simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. After 45 minutes, turn over meat slices with skin side upwards.  Bring to boil again, then reduce to low heat.  Cover with lid and leave to simmer for another 45 minutes.
  7. Off heat, test with a chopstick to check if meat slices are tender.
  8. Remove to serving platter.  Strain braising sauce into a sauce pot.  Discard the residue.  Bring braising sauce to boil.  Drizzle over meat and serve hot.

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