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Sweet Soy Braised Pork Belly


Sweet Soy Braised Pork Belly and Rice

This recipe is a cheaters version of a recipe from the fabulous Marion Grasby. These days, as I’ve previously written, watching cooking videos invokes a sense of nostalgia to the days when you could run to the store, carefree, to pick up a few things to make a recipe you’d just seen online.

Nowadays, as we navigate this global pandemic, grocery store trips are more infrequent and more planful.

I recalled seeing a video of Marion’s a while back where she made her Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly that was spooned over rice with a delicious boiled egg. I think it was on my mind 2 weeks ago when I picked up a couple of boxes of pre-cooked pork belly from Trader Joes, because I had no recipe and no plan for what I was going to do with it. In fact, I had never even tried the product before.

The other day, when I was reminiscing about Marion’s sweet and savory braised pork, I opened up my fridge to see that Trader Joes pork belly, and I ransacked my pantry to discover what ingredients from her recipe I had in stock. To my surprise, I had much of what I needed and I knew how to substitute the rest. And so, this #QUARANTINEKITCHEN recipe was born.

I can imagine making this same recipe outside of lockdown because the ingredients I use in my #copycat recipe are commonly found in the big box grocery stores. For example, whereas Marion calls for the aromatic Chinese Shaoxing Wine, it’s hard to find that outside of a specialty market; however, you can always find Japanese Mirin or Cooking Sherry at your regular old grocery store.

I’m calling this recipe a Sweet Soy Braised Pork Belly, inspired by Tawainese Braised Pork Belly. “Inspired”, because there are so many substitutions in this recipe from so many other countries that it feels wrong to call it anything else.

But the taste….oh my goodness…the taste is delicious and deeply satisfying.

When you can make it to an Asian market, please try Marion’s actual recipe. https://www.marionskitchen.com/taiwanese-braised-pork-rice/

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil

24 ounces (1.5 lb) pre-cooked pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 3/4 cups of water

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin (or cooking sherry or Chinese Shaoxing wine)

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 slices of fresh ginger

3 dried bay leaves

3 whole star anise

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

4 boiled eggs, peeled

steamed rice, to serve

Instructions

1. Prepare the Pork: Dice pork belly. Heat oil in a deep pan and saute pork belly for 4 minutes until it is slightly browned.

2. Flavor the Pork: Add black pepper, garlic and shallots into the pork and stir to combine. Now, add the aromatics: the star anise, ground cinnamon, ginger slices, and bay leaves.

3. Get your braising liquids together: In a measuring cup, mix together the water, soy sauce, mirin and brown sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, pour over the pork. Bring the liquid up to a boil, and boil for 2 mins, then reduce heat to low so you get to a simmer.

4. Braise the pork: Cook the pork over medium-low heat for 45 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the pork is extra tender.

5. Prepare the Eggs: While the pork is cooking, you can boil eggs to your desired doneness using the method of your choosing.

6. Add the Eggs to the Pork: Once you’ve boiled your eggs and removed the shells, you can place the peeled eggs directly into your pork mixture and coat the eggs with the pork mixture and the sauce so they begin to take on the color and flavor of the braising mixture.

7. Serve: To serve, you can take the rice of your choosing (white or brown) and spoon the braised pork over it. And, take a boiled egg, slice it, and place it atop the rice as well.

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