Chairman Mao's Red Braised Pork-China Hunan

I watch a lot of cooking shows and read all the cooking magazines and have noticed chefs and foodies drooling over pork belly.

I've had bacon, which comes from pork belly, but never the cut of meat itself. So I bought a pound ($2.00!) and found this recipe in The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.

This was Mao Zedongs favorite pork dish and in Hunan it is believed to increase the intellect and make ladies more beautiful. Ummm OK.

I had most of the ingredients on hand. I didn't have star anise so I skipped it since I'm not an anise fan. I also used jarred chopped ginger. I had bought Shaoxing wine on my last trip to the Asian grocery store. I found it in the wine section and it was only $4.00. The book describes it as a cooking and drinking wine but I took a sip and blechhh. I'll stick to cooking with shaoxing wine that's for sure!

The bottle I got looks like this:

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The result: As much as I dislike anise I think the recipe really needs it. It was not spicy at all with the dried chiles. I also like pork belly. As fatty as it is it's something I wouldn't eat often though. There are some interesting variations on this recipe in the book that I'll definitely try.

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Chairman Mao's Red Braised Pork
Mao shi hong shao rou

1 lb pork belly
2 tbs peanut oil
2 tbs white sugar
1 tbs Shaoxing wine
3/4 inch piece ginger smashed with skin on
1 star anise
2 dried red chiles
small piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
Light soy sauce, salt and sugar
scallion greens

Plunge pork belly in boiling water for 3-4 minutes to partially cook.

When pork belly is cool enough to touch cut it into bite sized pieces

Heat the oil and sugar over med heat until sugar melts. Raise heat and stir until sugar turns a caramel brown color.

Add pork and wine and stir.

Add ginger, anise, cinnamon, chiles and enough water to cover pork and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes.

Towards the end of the cooking time, increase the heat to reduce the sauce. Add the soy sauce, sugar and salt to taste. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens over rice.

2 comments:

mikky said...

hey, this recipe looks very interesting... thanks for sharing...:)

tyggerjai said...

Yeah, the star anise really makes the recipe - otherwise it's just pork braised in sugar and cinnamon. Next time I make it, I'll be experimenting with orange zest - that should complement the sweetness and cut through the fat a little.