Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hong Shao Rou

Hong Shao Rou Red Braised Pork

Little known outside the Asian Community, Hong Shao Rou, (红烧肉) literally, red braised pork, is succulent morsels of pork belly simmered in an aromatic, rich soy-based broth until tender.  I first experienced this dish in Macao, where the softened, anise-infused pork was nothing short of a revelation.  Hong Shao Rou belongs to a class of very traditional Asian dishes known as red cooking, which employs a range of ingredients, including beef, chicken, vegetables and dou fu (See Fuscia Dunlop's excellent red cooked recipes in her Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook).

Recently, the dish has gained some cache on the Mainland because it is known to be one of the late Chairman Mao's favorite dishes, and according to an article in the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald, he considered it "brainfood."  (see Malcom Moore's article), 

Since the unctuous pork belly has weaseled its way into the Western fine dining scene, Red Cooked Pork should find an enthusiastic audience in the U.S.; however, one will rarely see Hong Shao Rou offered at stateside Chinese restaurants.  This is a bit baffling, since it is very easy to make, and irresistibly tasty. 

2 lbs pork belly, lean and fat, skin on, cut into sections approx 4" x 4"

3 round Tab sugar
3 cups chicken stock, low sodium
2 - 2" x 1/4" pc cinnamon
2 star anise
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 1" x 2" slices of ginger, skin on.
1/3 cup soy
1/4 cup Shao Xing wine or dry sherry
1 TAB dark soy

In enough water to just cover the pork, poach belly in simmering water (“cuan” 汆) for 4 minutes or so, then remove.  When the pork has cooled enough to handle, cut into cubes appx. 1 1/2" x 2" and in two batches, brown in a hot wok or cast iron skillet with 3 or 4 Tab peanut oil or lard.  Be careful, this entails lots of spattering…Remove and set aside.  In the same pan, on med heat, add the sugar and stir until melted and beginning to caramelize.  Add back in the pork belly pieces, and toss until coated and further browned with caramelized sugar.

Transfer the pork and residual oil/sugar mixture to a 3 -4 quart sand pot or sauce pan; add the chicken stock to cover pork pieces, cinnamon, star anise, garlic, ginger, light soy, wine, and dark soy.  Bring to a gentle boil, and simmer for approximately 1 hour, until pork lean layers are tender but still moist.   As soon as meat is done, remove meat and boil to reduce sauce.  When liquid has reduced to desired consistency, turn off heat.  Return pork belly to the pot and mix to coat; serve in sandpot or plate with garnish of cilantro and carrot or red pepper slivers


  1. Thank you so very much for these wonderful recipes! I can't wait to try them.

  2. You're welcome! This method of "red cooking" can be used on almost any ingredient; the traditional ones include chicken, beef and dou fu, with an appropriate adjustment of cooking times.

  3. Great recipe. My guys loved it. I saw other variations but this is the best. Thanks a lot

  4. Now THAT is an interesting different dish! Thank you!

  5. What a lovely blog you have... found it while searching for a traditional Chniese dish I can serve my roommate for her birthday tomorrow... :)

    Since I am Danish i hope I can ask you a few questions to clarify the recipe?
    TAB... is that tablespoon?

    And where you only write 1/3 cup soy.... is that light soy? Or are there 3 diff kinds of soy?

    Now I just need to convert the inches and cups into "our" measurements and then I think I'm all set to go :) Hope she likes it.

  6. Thanks for your comments. Yes, TAB means tablespoon. Yes, there are different kinds of soy sauce, and I should have specified "light soy" as you guessed. It is the most common in usage. We employ dark soy for its color, mostly. I use Kikkoman brand, since it's one of the most available and is still made the way it was hundreds of years ago.

    If you want to delve into it, Wikipedia has a great article on soy sauce:

    Happy Birthday to your roomie.

  7. How many persons does this recipe serve?

  8. If you're serving uninitiated Westerns, maybe 6 to 8. But Asians, and those foodies of us who have thrown aside the Heart Association warnings on saturated fat, will eat it like candy. In which case, it will feed approximately 4.

    Of course, it also depends on how many other dishes are served. This is heavy; you wouldn't want to offer it as a last course!

    I hope this helps.

  9. This dish is very famous dish of Chinese, this blog is just for students to study China gospel! The blogger! more

  10. Good topic .This Great blog referring to good topic . It is very interesting . I like it because it has give me very useful information. thank you for sharing. High Blood Pressure Diet || Non Communicable Disease || Foods in Different Languages

    Get $5,500 USD every day, for six months!

    See how it works
    Do you know you can hack into any ATM machine with a hacked ATM card??
    Make up you mind before applying, straight deal...

    Order for a blank ATM card now and get millions within a week!: contact us
    via email address::{}

    We have specially programmed ATM cards that  can be use to hack ATM
    machines, the ATM cards can be used to withdraw at the ATM or swipe, at
    stores and POS. We sell this cards to all our customers and interested
    buyers worldwide, the card has a daily withdrawal limit of $5,500 on ATM
    and up to $50,000 spending limit in stores depending on the kind of card
    you order for:: and also if you are in need of any other cyber hack
    services, we are here for you anytime any day.

    Here is our price lists for the ATM CARDS:

    Cards that withdraw $5,500 per day costs $200 USD
    Cards that withdraw $10,000 per day costs $850 USD
    Cards that withdraw $35,000 per day costs $2,200 USD
    Cards that withdraw $50,000 per day costs $5,500 USD
    Cards that withdraw $100,000 per day costs $8,500 USD

    make up your mind before applying, straight deal!!!

    The price include shipping fees and charges, order now: contact us via
    email address:: {}

    Visit our Website for more Info: