Red braised pork – Hongshao rou 红烧肉

Red braised pork – Hongshao rou 红烧肉

Tender nubs of flavour-packed pork gently braised with typical Chinese pantry staples – this recipe for hóngshāo ròu (红烧肉) sure is a crowd-pleaser.

My love for Chinese food was well and truly reinvigorated on my last trip there, and reproducing some of the dishes I enjoyed has definitely been a fun experience.

hongshao rou red braised pork

A quick stir-fry, this is not, as you need about 2 hours before anyone can dive into this red braised pork.

The name clearly comes from its rich colour which comes from combined light and dark soy sauce, plus a few other bits.

I’ve kept the recipe as traditional as I can; using lump sugar, Chinese chicken stock granules and Shaoxing wine. If these were tricky to find, I’d probably go with white sugar, decent chicken stock powder and lager.

One final drizzle (my personal touch) of Sichuan pepper oil – a flavour I fell in love with whilst over there – and you’ve got a bunch of flavours that’ll quite literally dance on your tongue.

Recipe based on this one.

hongshao rou red braised pork
Print Recipe
Red braised pork (红烧肉 hongshao rou)
Deliciously tender, packed with flavour and so easy to make
hongshao rou red braised pork
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings
people
Ingredients
hongshao rou red braised pork
Instructions
  1. Cut the pork into 2cm long strips, then cut each strip into 2.5cm pieces.
  2. Heat your wok over a medium flame. Add 2 tablespoon oil and the ginger slices and cook, stirring for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Add the pork and stir-fry until sealed and golden. Transfer the pork to a bowl and discard the oil. Wipe out the wok using paper towels.
  4. Pour ½ cup water into the wok. Add the lump sugar and stir it around. When it's slightly dissolved add 1 tablespoon of oil and keep stirring over medium heat, allowing it to dissolve and caramelise. As soon as it's a deep amber colour pour in about 1 cup boiling water. Keep stirring for about 20 seconds, then pour the sugar water into a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. With the heat on low, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the shallots and bay leaves and lightly fry for half a minute. Add the oyster er sauce, tboth soy sauces, Shaoxing wine and the sugar water. Return the pork to the liquid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the salt, chicken powder and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 90 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid. Most of the liquid should be simmered away. Discard the ginger and bay leaves. Pour ½ tablespoon Sichuan pepper oil around the meat, give it a good toss, garnish with sliced spring onions and serve.
Recipe Notes

Shaoxing wine, lump sugar and Sichuan pepper oil can be found in good Asian grocers. If you can get it, buy Hua Diao, as it's the best Shaoxing yellow wine.

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