Red Braised Pork

By Ivan Hawkes
October 14, 2021

This slow braised dish has tender pieces of pork covered with a glistening moreish Chinese red braise sauce.


Quantity Measure Ingredient
1 kg pork belly / shoulder
2-3 cups water
4 cloves garlic
2 cm sliced ginger
2 whole shallots, 5cm lengths, whites only
2 tbs light soy sauce
1/2 tbs dark soy sauce (optional)
4 tbs shaoxing wine
1 tsp toasted sessame oil


Quantity Measure Ingredient
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbs oil


Either use 1 tsp of five spice powder or a selection of the following:

Quantity Measure Ingredient
1 tsp white pepper
1-2 whole star anise
1 leaf dried bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon
3 whole cloves
15 whole sichuan peppercorns
1 whole chinese black cardamom
1 whole dried red chilli (optional)
1 whole black licorice root (optional)
1/4 tsp fennel seed (optional)


  • Slice the pork into large chunks (2-3 cm). Expect a little shrinkage during cooking.

  • Blanch the pork in boiling water for 3 minutes to remove impurities. Drain and toss out the water.

  • Create a caramel in the pot by adding the sugar, water and oil and turning on to a high heat. Stir constantly. It should bubble vigorously. Once the right colour has been achieved stop the process by adding warm water to the caramel. Don’t use cold water, it could cause popping. Two to three cups of water should be added, depending on the amount of meat.

  • OPTIONAL: remove the caramel and use the pot to fry the meat for a few minutes to achieve browning.

  • Add the main ingrediants and bring to the boil.

  • Place a lid on the pot and simmer for about 40-50 minutes.

  • Remove the lid and boil off most of the liquid.

  • Season with salt and MSG.

  • Plate up. Toss on scallions and drizzle with sessame oil.


If you want to make the dish quickly you can skip using all the individual spices and replace with a decent amount of five spice.

You can skip making the caramel. Instead, add the optional dark soy sauce.

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Recipe Chinese Pork Red Braise