Dish: Dong Po Pork
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Best For: date night, weekend dinner, special occasion
Serves: 4 - 6 generously
Boil a pot of water. Cut the pork belly into a 2-inch squares and the scallions into 3-inch pieces. Peel the ginger and cut into slices. Add pork belly into the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain the water and pat the meat dry.
Heat up a Dutch oven or a clay pot with oil. Stir fry the ginger and scallions for 5 minutes. Add water and boil for 10 minutes. Put in soy sauce, dark soy sauce, brown sugar, and wine - stir well.
Add the pork belly skin side down for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, gently simmer the meat with the pot lid on. After 30 minutes, turn the pork belly skin side up. Continue braising for 1.5 hours with the pot lid on.
Stir well before serving. Goes well with rice and broccoli or bok choy.
DO YOU KNOW ...
Dong Po Pork is named after Su Dong Po (aka Su Shi), a Chinese statesman, writer/poet, painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist, and gastronome of the Song dynasty. The story is he was demoted and banished to Hangzhou province after criticizing the emperor. While playing Chinese chess with a friend one day, he forgot that he was cooking some pork in the kitchen until the rich fragrant aroma reminded him. The resulting slow-stewed pork was succulent, tender (fall off the chopsticks), and syrupy. The long cooking time erases the greasy feel that usually comes with eating fatty pork because the increased sugar caramelization infuse the cooking wine and breaks down the fat. This tasty dish is very popular in China and iconic to Hangzhou - helped by the fact that pork is the meat of choice in that country. My mom makes this luscious, melts-in-your-mouth dish every year for the Chinese New Year celebration. The Chinese believes in eating something fatty for the Chinese New Year Eve banquet as a good omen for the good year to come. Make this flavorful dish for your family, they will thank you for it. To find pork belly, ask your butcher for streaky pork (pork with alternating layers of fat and meat).
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