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Dongpo Pork | Chef John’s Cooking Class

Dongpo Pork | Chef John’s Cooking Class
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Known as a top-of-the-line pork dish, Dongpo pork is fairly common in all regions of China and most families know this recipe. It is relatively simple to create! However, it’s not easy to make it truly melt-in-your-mouth and fall-apart tender while holding its shape beautifully; at the same time, the sauce is rich and tasty while the pork is flavorful inside and out.

Su Dongpo once famously said “Simmer on low heat with less water; when the control of heat is mastered, it will be delicious.” The key to the success of this dish lies in the seasoning and control of heat. 

Recipe
PRE TIME: 20 min
COOKING TIME: 4 hr 10 min
TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 30 min
2 SERVING
Ingredients:
  • 1.2 lb. Skin-On Pork Belly
  • 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil
  • 5 Slice Ginger, Sliced
  • 5 Stalks Green Onions, Cut Into 1/2 Inch Pieces.
  • 1 qt. Shaoxing Wine
  • 1/2 cup Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Red Yeast Rice Powder
  • 1/2 cup Rock Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Potato Starch Slurry (1 To 2 Ratio Of starch To Water)
Directions:
1
Bring a pot of water to a boil. We put the pork in the pot with the skin side up. As pork skin is kind of sticky, this will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Then, boil it for 5 to 10 minutes to set the shape.
2
Once it’s done blanching, turn off the heat, and take it out. You can refine the shape of the pork belly a bit more at this step. Carefully trim all four sides of the pork, making a beautiful rectangular shape.
3
In a 10-inch Dutch oven, turn on the heat and drizzle a little oil in the pot. Then, put in the ginger slice. Split the green onions lengthwise in two parts. Pad the bottom of the pan with green onion. This will help to get rid of the gamey taste in pork and prevent it from sticking to the base. We put the skin-side down in the pot first.
4
Pour Shaoxing wine into the pot, which will help the aroma. If you cannot find rice wine, you can also use any other low percentage beer for this step. Next, put in the light soy sauce. Add red yeast rice powder, if you don’t have it, red food coloring works fine. Sugar will both season and tone the dish. It also gives the sauce a glossy caramelized finish. Now add it to the pot.
5
Season it with a little bit of salt.
6
The braising liquid is about halfway up the sides of the pork. We’ll add a bit more yellow wine to almost cover three-quarters of it. Cover and simmer for 2 to 2 and a half hours.
7
Transfer the pork to a 6-inch casserole dish. Add some braising liquid to the dish which helps the pork to absorb more flavors during steaming.
8
In another large cooking pot, put a steam rack inside the pot to prevent water overflow on top of the pork. Next, add water to almost cover the steam rack in the pot. Keeping the proper amount of water in a steam boiler is critical. Place the casserole dish in the pot. Cover and steam it in constant, slow heat, for another 90 minutes to 2 hours to make it truly melt-in-your-mouth and fall-apart tender.
9
Pour the braising liquid out of the casserole. In a non-stick skillet, add the braising liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil and turn off the heat. Then, use two scoops of potato starch slurry and mix it right away. This must be done quickly. If not, it will cake up.
10
Turn on the heat and stir until the liquid mixture begins to bubble. Check the thickness of the sauce, and it should be similar as the video shown.
11
Pour the thickened sauce over the pork. Enjoy!
Final Notes
Final Notes
Red yeast rice, also called Went Yeast, has been used for centuries in China as both food and medicine. It is made by fermenting a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus over red rice. In Chinese medicine, red yeast rice is used to lower cholesterol, improve blood circulation, and improve digestion.
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